Anne M. Eberhardt

Keeneland Lands Sponsor, Cuts Stakes Purses

Keeneland has a new race sponsor, but some stakes purses will be cut this fall.

Keeneland has a new sponsor for the grade I Breeders’ Futurity, but the “economic climate” led the Kentucky racetrack to reduce fall stakes purses by $275,000, officials said July 9.

The $500,000 Futurity for 2-year-olds had been sponsored by Lane’s End Farm. This fall, it will be called the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity. Mr. and Mrs. William Shively own Dixiana Farm.

“We are very happy to welcome Dixiana to Keeneland’s family of race sponsors,” Keeneland director of racing Rogers Beasley said in a statement. “The history of Dixiana is as rich and storied in racing as that of the Breeders’ Futurity.”

Total fall stakes purses were reduced as follows: grade II Thoroughbred Club of America (reduced by $50,000); grade III Woodford on the turf ($25,000) on the turf; grade III Bourbon on the turf ($75,000); grade III Perryville presented by Budweiser Select ($50,000); grade III Bryan Station on the turf ($25,000); grade III Sycamore on the turf ($25,000); and the Rood & Riddle Dowager on the turf ($25,000).

Sixteen of the fall meets 19 stakes are graded, including the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT), an internationally renowned invitational for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on the turf Oct. 17. Stakes purses for the meet, which runs from Oct. 9-31, total $5.125 million.

“Keeneland’s stakes purses continue to rank among the highest in North America,” Beasley said. “The reduction in stakes purses is a result of the economic climate, which has led to declines in both live and simulcast wagering revenues.”

“FallStars Weekend” (Oct. 9-11) will feature nine graded stakes, five of which are grade I: the $500,000 Darley Alcibiades for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles Oct. 9; the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile for 3-year-olds and up, $500,000 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity, for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, and $400,000 First Lady, for older fillies and mares at one mile on the turf Oct. 10; and the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles Oct. 11.

ESPN Classic will provide live coverage of the Shadwell Turf Mile and Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity during its racing coverage from 5-7:30 p.m. EDT Oct. 10. The Juddmonte Spinster and Bourbon Stakes will be carried live by ESPN from 5-6 p.m. Oct. 11.