As Keeneland officials noted with a laugh, it couldn't have been better scripted. But sometimes in horse racing, things have a funny way of coming together despite numerous factors. And on Friday, opening day at the Lexington racetrack, they did just that.
JPMorgan Chase has signed on as the signature sponsor of Keeneland's Jessamine Stakes beginning with the race Oct. 26.
Keeneland has announced the stakes program for its 2006 spring meet. The schedule features two grade elevations and a total of 19 stakes races worth $4,225,000.
Keeneland is gearing up for its 2005 fall meeting Oct.7-29, which will distribute more than $10.5 million in total purses and will serve as a springboard for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships Oct. 29 at Belmont.
Juddmonte Farms has assumed sponsorship of Keeneland's Spinster Stakes.The $500,000-guaranteed Juddmonte Spinster, to be run Oct. 9, is a grade I event for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up and one of the top stepping stones for the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) in October.
The Lexus Store of Lexington has signed a three-year commitment to sponsor Keeneland's Raven Run Stakes (gr. II), to be run Oct. 22. The purse was increased to a minimum of $250,000, up from $200,000 in previous years.
Jim Gallagher, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, told members of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club April 5 to voice their collective opinion on how the Kentucky Breeders' Incentive monies should be divided.
With opening day at Keeneland a little more than a week away, the track hosted a March 31 information meeting concerning the recent cases of strangles reported in South Florida and the Churchill Downs Trackside training center. The meeting also outlined the precautions the track is taking to ensure the disease does not spread.
Rogers Beasley, Keeneland's Director of Racing, and Jim Gallagher, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, will address the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club at the monthly meeting April 5 at the Crowne Plaza Lexington – Campbell House. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.
Keeneland will host a horsemen's forum April 6 to explain how it intends to test for "milkshakes" during its spring meet, which kicks off April 8.
Keeneland has issued the parameters and penalties for pre-race "milkshake" tests it plans to implement during its April 8-29 spring meet.
Anchored by two major prep races for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), a National Pick 4 wager will be offered on Saturday, April 16 by Oaklawn Park and Keeneland, in conjunction with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
Central Bank will sponsor Keeneland's Transylvania Stakes (gr. IIIT). Because of Central Bank's sponsorship, Keeneland is increasing the purse for the race to $150,000-guaranteed. Previously, it was run for $100,000-added.
Keeneland kicks off its fall race meeting in Lexington, Ky. Oct. 8 with "Fallstars Weekend" featuring seven graded stakes serving as stepping stones to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park.
Keeneland has completed the installation of a Polytrack surface on its five-eighths of a mile training track located adjacent to its main track. It is the first of its type at a public racing or training facility in North America.
The strength and stamina of the yearling market gets its stiffest test of the year starting Monday, when Keeneland's marathon September auction opens for business at 10 a.m. (EDT).
Keeneland Association announced Tuesday that Ben Huffman has been appointed racing secretary.
As expected, Keeneland announced several key personnel moves Friday. Rogers Beasley, longtime director of the largest equine sale company in the world, will become director of racing, a newly created position. The position will help ease the work load of racing secretary Howard Battle, who has been battling health problems. Battle will still oversee the racing office.
Keeneland's July yearling sale will have its smallest catalogue ever this year. Only 164 horses will be offered during the elite Kentucky auction, which has decreased in size for four consecutive years. The total represents a drop of 21.1% from 2000, when 208 horses were catalogued. In comparison, the decline in numbers between 1999 and 2000 was only 3.7%.
Keeneland Association reported the successful launch Saturday of its innovative Internet auction of horses that had not sold at the record-breaking September yearling sale earlier in the week.
Boosted by competitive bidding between Sheikh Mohammed, Coolmore Stud interests, and clients of trainer D. Wayne Lukas, the second session of Keeneland's fall yearling sale soared to record levels Tuesday, primarily on the strength of horses consigned by William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm. Among the highlights were the sale of a Storm Cat colt for $6.8 million--the highest price paid for a yearling sold at auction in North America since 1985--and two apparently world record prices for yearling fillies.
Keeneland's November breeding stock sale expected to set a record in terms of the number of horses to be offered.
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