Keeneland to Offer Richest Stakes Schedule During Fall Meet

When Keeneland kicks off its fall meeting Oct. 7, it will mark the richest meeting ever for the Central Kentucky track with 19 stakes worth $5,075,000 on the schedule. The 17-day meet concludes Oct. 29.

The first three days of the meeting, billed as Fallstars Weekend, feature seven graded stakes - three of which are grade I events - that serve as stepping stones to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at the end of the month.

The meet kicks off Oct. 7 with the $400,000, Darley Alcibiades (gr. II) and the $150,000-added Sycamore Breeders' Cup (gr. III). The $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT), the $500,000 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I), and the $250,000 Phoenix Breeders' Cup (gr. IIII) will be run Oct. 8.

Fillies and mares are featured Oct. 9. Joining the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) on the program that day is the $400,000 WinStar Galaxy (gr. II) and the $100,000-added Woodford County Stakes.

Keeneland's fourth grade I race of the fall, the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, is set for Oct. 15. The invitational race for 3-year-old fillies is run at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

"We take great effort to examine our schedule, especially how it fits with the rest of the country," said Keeneland's Director of Racing Rogers Beasley. "For instance, changing the distance on the WinStar Galaxy provides horsemen with a much needed opportunity to race fillies and mares who like to go a mile on the turf. At $300,000 each, the Lexus Raven Run and The Thoroughbred Club of America have become among the richest races in their divisions."

Some other notable facts related to this year's stakes schedule include:

* Thirteen of the 19 stakes scheduled during the meeting are graded

* Eleven will be run on the turf

* Fourteen of the 17 days will have at least one stakes race

* Six stakes will have increased purses

The Thoroughbred Club of America (gr. III) gets the biggest purse boost with an increase of $175,000; The Perryville (Presented by Budweiser (gr. III)) will be run for $200,000, after receiving graded status this year by the American Graded Stakes Committee. Previously, it was run for $100,000; the Lexus Raven Run will be run for $300,000 (gr. II) due in part to its new sponsor; last year the purse totaled $200,000; the Bryan Station, which was run last year as the Storm Cat Stakes, will be contested for $150,000, up from $100,000 last year; the Woodford and the Valley View each receive a $25,000 purse boost; they were run last year for $75,000 and $100,000, respectively; the WinStar Galaxy will be run for $400,000 at one mile on the turf; last year it was run at 9 1/2 furlongs for $500,000; Juddmonte Farms has assumed sponsorship of the Spinster Stakes. The Buffalo Trace Franklin County, which was run last year as the Clark County, was increased from $75,000 last year to $100,000 this year.

Three stakes will be televised nationally. The Lane's End Breeders' Futurity and Shadwell Turf Mile will be shown live on NBC Oct. 8. The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup will air live on ESPN Oct. 15.