(edited press release)
Churchill Downs has unveiled an $11 million stakes schedule for its 2008 spring and fall meets that features 45 stakes events - including a record 38 graded stakes races - headed by the 134th renewals of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
“Churchill Downs is proud to present a stakes schedule for 2008 that again offers wonderful opportunities to compete against top-notch horses in every age group and division,” said Ben Huffman, racing secretary at Churchill Downs.
The stakes schedule for the April 26-July 6 meet includes 31 stakes races and total stakes purses of $8.1 million. The 52-day spring meet schedule is highlighted by Kentucky Derby day, which includes six stakes events and total purses of $3.35 million; a Kentucky Oaks day program that features six stakes events with total purses of $1.35 million; and six stakes races with purses of $1.75 million on the “Stephen Foster Super Saturday” program on June 14 headed by the $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I).
The Oct. 26-Nov. 29 meet will feature 14 stakes events with total purses of $2.9 million. The 134th running of the $500,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (gr. II) heads the roster of stakes events for the 26-day autumn racing session.
The track has one new graded race from 2007. The latest race to achieve graded status is the $150,000-added Commonwealth Turf, which will be run as a grade III event during the fall meet. The 2008 schedule will feature five grade I races, 11 grade II contests, and 22 grade III events.
The Churchill Downs fall meet will again feature a pair of “Stars of Tomorrow” racing programs devoted exclusively to races for 2-year-olds. “Stars of Tomorrow I” on Nov. 1, will be highlighted by the $150,000-added Pocahontas (gr. III) for fillies and the $150,000-added Iroquois (gr. III), both of which will be run at one mile. “Stars of Tomorrow II” will close out the meet Nov. 29, and its $250,000-added co-features are the Golden Rod (gr. II) for fillies and the Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II). The distance of both races is 1 1/16 miles.