Thoroughbred racing returns to Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky., on Saturday, Sept. 16 for a six day racing season, which concludes on Tuesday, Sept. 26. The highlight of the meet is the $450,000 Kentucky Cup Turf Festival, featuring four stakes races on Saturday, Sept. 23. The grade III, $200,000 Kentucky Cup Turf, to be run on Turf Festival Day, is the showcase race of the season. Last year, Kentucky-based Silverfoot pulled away down the stretch for a decisive win in the Kentucky Cup Turf. The 2001 Turf was won by Chorwon and the $186,000 top prize boosted his career earnings over the $1 million mark. Chorwon and Silverfoot both competed in the $2-million John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) in their next starts. The six-race Turf Festival card also includes the $50,000 Yaqthan Stakes, the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Turf Dash and the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf. Sand Springs, the winner of the 2004 Ladies, later won the grade I, $500,000 Diana Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. Battle Won, the winner of the 2004 Sprint at Kentucky Downs, also moved to the top of the national standings following his win at Kentucky Downs. Battle Won won the grade II Churchill Downs Handicap. Also in 2004, jockey Rafael Bejarano left his mark on Kentucky Downs while on his way to being the nation's leading jockey in wins. Bejarano won the leading jockey honors and also won six races, a Kentucky Downs record, on one card. Last year, Bejarano was based in New York, but came to Kentucky Downs on Turf Festival day and recorded three stakes wins. Kentucky Downs will run Sept. 16, 18 and 19 and resume for closing weekend, Sept. 23, 25 and 26. The two Saturday cards will be run in conjunction with the races from Turfway Park. Saturday post-times will be 12:10 p.m. (CDT).On opening day, Sept. 16, Kentucky Downs will feature the $40,000 Pleasant Temper Stakes. Fans will also be treated to the 3rd Annual Kentucky Downs Wiener Dog Challenge. The charity event will crown the region's fastest dachshund and all proceeds will go to the Simpson County Animal Shelter. Also on Saturday, Sept. 16, the first 1,000 patrons will receive an embroidered Kentucky Downs souvenir baseball hat. All giveaways are with clubhouse admission.Kentucky Downs will run nine live races on Monday, Sept. 18 and Monday, Sept. 25. Eight live races will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 19 and Tuesday, Sept. 26. Post-time on Monday and Tuesday is 1:45 p.m. CDT.
Located on the Kentucky/Tennessee border, Kentucky Downs was originally opened as Dueling Grounds Racecourse. The only "European style," all turf racing Thoroughbred facility in the United States, Kentucky Downs is now owned by Kelley Farms, Turfway Park and Churchill Downs.