LEXINGTON, Ky. — Keeneland will offer a record $5.675 million in stakes purses during its 17-day Fall Meet from Oct. 4-26, which opens with the prestigious Fall Stars Weekend. Eighteen stakes, 10 of which are Breeders’ Cup Challenge races led by the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), are on tap with $50,000 purse increases slated for the Buffalo Trace Franklin County (G3) and Sycamore (G3) to increase the value of both turf races to $150,000 apiece.
The Fall Meet stakes purses are a Keeneland record for a season without the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which return in 2020.
“Keeneland is proud to welcome the sport’s leading owners, trainers and jockeys to Keeneland in the fall, which is recognized as one of the most important race meets of the year in North American Thoroughbred racing,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “The competition between horses preparing for the Breeders’ Cup is a hallmark of this exciting season.”
The three-day Fall Stars Weekend will feature 10 stakes, including five of the meet’s six Grade 1 races, worth a total of $3.95 million.
Nine Fall Stars Weekend stakes are Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” events, which award the winners automatic berths in the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 1-2 at Santa Anita: $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1) (Tito’s Handmade Vodka Juvenile Fillies-G1) and $250,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) (TwinSpires Sprint-G1) on Friday, Oct. 4; $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) (Big Ass Fans Mile-G1), $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) (Sentient Jet Juvenile-G1), $400,000 First Lady (G1) (Maker’s Mark Filly and Mare Turf-G1) and $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) (Filly and Mare Sprint-G1) on Saturday, Oct. 5; and $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) (Distaff-G1), $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon (G3) (Juvenile Turf-G1) and $200,000 Indian Summer (Juvenile Turf Sprint) on Sunday, Oct. 6.
The other graded stakes during Fall Stars Weekend, also being run Saturday, Oct. 5, is the $200,000 Woodford (G2) Presented by Keeneland Select.
Keeneland’s 10th Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, set for Wednesday, Oct. 9, is the $200,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2). The winner earns a spot in the starting gate for the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
The Fall Meet’s sixth Grade 1 stakes, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 12, is the internationally prestigious $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End. The invitational is for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.
Purse increases of $50,000 each further enhance the Buffalo Trace Franklin County on Friday, Oct. 11, and Sycamore on Thursday, Oct. 17. The Buffalo Trace Franklin County, at 5½ furlongs on turf, is for fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up. The Sycamore is a 1½-mile grass race for three-year-olds and up.
Another Fall Meet stakes that has produced a Breeders’ Cup winner is the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2), which will be run Oct. 19, the third Saturday of the season. Last year’s winner of the seven-furlong stakes for three-year-old fillies was Shamrock Rose, who next won the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) to become the 49th Breeders’ Cup winner to have prepped for their victory during the Fall Meet.
NBC will cover four Breeders’ Cup Challenge races on Fall Stars Weekend at Keeneland as part of its 2019 “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, presented by America’s Best Racing.”
On Saturday, Oct. 5, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. ET, the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) and $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) will air.
On Sunday, Oct. 6, NBC will broadcast the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) and $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon (G3) from 4:30-6 p.m.