LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Keeneland celebrates its 80th anniversary of racing when the 2016 Fall Meet gets underway Friday, Oct. 7. The 17-day meet opens with Keeneland’s prestigious Fall Stars Weekend, when many of racing’s most celebrated horses make their final starts before next month’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita, and continues the excitement through closing day Oct. 29 with top-quality racing, engaging special events, a new Merchandise Pavilion and an expansive social and digital media presence.
Falls Stars Weekend, 17 Graded Stakes, Eight Breeders’ Cup Challenge Races Headline Fall Meet
Keeneland’s Fall Meet offers one of the nation’s richest purse programs and a convergence of the country’s top stables and jockeys. Racing is highlighted by 17 graded stakes worth $5.275 million, six of them Grade 1 races led by the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) on Oct. 8. Eight Fall Meet stakes are Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races, which award to the winner an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Nov. 4-5 at Santa Anita Park.
Since the inception of the Breeders’ Cup in 1984, the winners of 43 Breeders’ Cup races made their final start before the World Championships during Keeneland’s Fall Meet. The track successfully hosted the Breeders’ Cup for the first time in October 2015.
Keeneland kicks off the Fall Meet with its spectacular Fall Stars Weekend, Oct. 7-9, featuring nine graded stakes, seven of them Breeders’ Cup Challenge races: $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1) (a Challenge race for the 14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies-G1) and $250,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) (TwinSpires Sprint-G1) on Oct. 7; $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) (Mile-G1), $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) (Sentient Jet Juvenile-G1) and $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) (Filly and Mare Sprint-G1) on Oct. 8; and $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) (Distaff-G1) and $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon (G3) (Juvenile Turf-G1) on Oct. 9.
The eighth Breeders’ Cup Challenge race is the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) on Oct. 12, which awards the winner a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
A sixth Grade 1 stakes, the internationally prominent $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on the turf is scheduled for Oct. 15.