Two New Grade III's, $8.5 Million in Purses
Purses, including Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund supplements, are scheduled to average about $1.7 million a day for a total of about $8.5 million, fueled by Historical Horse Racing, the technology that combines the parimutuel system on which live racing is based with electronic-game terminals utilizing the results of previously-run races.
Every horse finishing sixth through last place in non-stakes races will receive $750, the largest such payments in the country outside of stakes races and up from $500 a year ago.
The $8.5 million in purses offered at the meet include 13 stakes, highlighted by the Grade III Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup, which this year is joined by two newly graded stakes: the Grade III Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint and Grade III Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf. That trio of races will be staged Saturday, Sept. 10. Kentucky Downs stakes include anywhere from $75,000 to $300,000 in KTDF supplements for Kentucky-bred horses, which comprise the vast majority of horses running.
Opening day is on Saturday, Sept. 2, and it features a stakes quartet, including the $400,000 Tourist Mile, which was known as the More Than Ready when won in 2015 by WinStar Farm’s Tourist, winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Two-year-olds also will be in the spotlight opening day in the $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase Juvenile and $350,000 Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies, positioned as steppingstones to the Breeders’ Cup 2-year-old grass races.
Kentucky Downs has brought back the name of a stake, the $250,000, seven-furlong Franklin-Simpson for 3-year-olds to be run on closing day, Thursday, Sept. 14.
Another closing-day stake is the 1 5/16-mile Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon run for a purse of $350,000 and now the Ramsey Farm Stakes, recognizing the track and Kentucky’s all-time winningest owner in Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Nicholasville farm. The Ramseys won the Ladies Marathon last year with Al’s Gal, who in her next start captured Woodbine’s Grade 1 E.P. Taylor.
“Having three graded stakes is an important next step for our racing program, making it that much more enticing for out-of-state outfits to send a group of horses to Kentucky Downs, and the fact that the top three finishers in those races earn qualifying points toward the Breeders’ Cup," said director of racing Tyler Picklesimer. "But even our stakes that aren’t yet graded have proven significant launching pads to graded stakes at Keeneland and beyond. And they all promise to provide outstanding betting opportunities.”