WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Keeneland to feature 17 stakes races in spring

Lexington, Ky. (January 23, 2009)—Seventeen stakes races worth a total of $3.8 million will be run during Keeneland’s spring meeting, beginning April 3 and continuing through April 24.

Highlighting the schedule are the $750,000, Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday, April 11, and the $400,000, Grade 1 Ashland Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday, April 4.

There are a total of four Grade 1 races scheduled for the spring meeting including the Vinery Madison, which was increased by $100,000 to $300,000 following its recent elevation from Grade 2. Two stakes—the Lafayette and Royal Chase for the Sport of Kings (NSA1)—were not rescheduled for 2009 and total stakes purses were reduced by $600,000 from last spring.

“Keeneland’s stakes program remains both strong and diverse, and overnight purses will continue at the same level as recent years based on a $50,000 purse for maidens,” said Director of Racing Rogers Beasley. “The stakes purse reductions are the result of a combination of factors—loss of sponsors, the economy and a decline in sales revenues. As new sponsors are added, purses will be increased.”

Keeneland’s purses will continue to average approximately $600,000 daily, ranking them among the highest in North America.

Fifteen of the 17 stakes races are graded. Nine will be run on Polytrack and eight will be contested on the turf. There will be a stakes race on 12 of the 15 days during the spring meeting, which features racing Wednesday through Sunday except Easter Sunday, April 12.

Joining the Toyota Blue Grass as an important stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby is the $300,000, Grade 2 Coolmore Lexington Stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday, April 18. The purse for the Lexington previously was $325,000. The Ashland Stakes serves as a prelude to the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 1. The purse for the Ashland was reduced by $100,000.

Beginning with the Vinery Madison for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and upward, at seven furlongs on Thursday, April 9, there will be three Grade 1 stakes in as many days. It will be followed by the $300,000 Maker’s Mark Mile for 4-year-olds and upward on the turf on Friday, April 10, and the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on the following day.

` Among the supporting features on Toyota Blue Grass Day is the $250,000 Commonwealth Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds and upward at seven furlongs. It is part of the Breeders’ Cup series. The purse was reduced $150,000 from last year.

The $150,000, Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, 184 feet on Wednesday, April 8, has been reduced by $100,000. Reduced by $25,000 each were the Grade 3 Shakertown Stakes for 3-year-olds and upward at 5 ½ furlongs on the turf, the Grade 3 Appalachian Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on the turf, the Grade 3 Doubledogdare Stakes for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and upward, at 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack and the Coolmore Lexington.

The stakes schedule:

April 3—Central Bank Tranyslvania (G3), $150,000 for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles (turf).

April 4—Ashland (G1), $400,000 for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.

April 8—Beaumont (G2), $150,000 for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, 184 feet.

April 9—Vinery Madison (G1), $300,000 for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and upward, seven furlongs.

April 10—Maker’s Mark Mile (G1), $300,000 for 4-year-olds and upward at one mile (turf).

April 10—Fort Harrod (L), $100,000-added for 4-year-olds and upward at 1 5/8 miles.

April 11—Toyota Blue Grass (G1), $750,000 for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles.

April 11—Commonweath (G2), $250,000 (including $75,000 from Breeders’ Cup) for 3-year-olds and upward at seven furlongs.

April 11—Jenny Wiley (G2), $200,000 for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and upward, at 1 1/16 miles (turf).

April 11—Shakertown (G3), $100,000 for 3-year-olds and upward at 5 ½ furlongs (turf).

April 16—Appalachian (G3), $100,000 for 3-year-old fillies at one mile (turf).

April 17—Doubledogdare (G3), $100,000 for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and upward at 1 1/16 miles.

April 18—Coolmore Lexington (G2), $300,000 for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.

April 18—Giant’s Causeway (L), $100,000-added, for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and upward at 5 ½ furlongs (turf).

April 19—Ben Ali (G3), $150,000 for 4-year-olds and upward at 1 1/8 miles.

April 23—Grey Goose Bewitch (G3), $150,000 for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and upward at 1 ½ miles (turf).

April 24—Fifth Third Elkhorn (G2), $200,000 for 4-year-olds and upward at 1 ½ miles (turf).


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