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Keeneland announces 2016 Spring Meet stakes schedule

The Keeneland 2016 Spring Meet begins April 8.

Lexington, Ky. – Keeneland today announced a $4.225 million stakes schedule for its 2016 Spring Meet that offers 16 stakes, led by the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1) and $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1).

The 16-day Spring Meet, to be held April 8-29, will offer racing Wednesdays through Sundays.

The Spring Meet opens Friday, April 8, with the $100,000 Transylvania (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds on turf.

For the second consecutive year, Keeneland’s premier 3-year-old races, the Toyota Blue Grass and the Central Bank Ashland, lead five stakes run on opening Saturday of the Spring Meet. Featured on the undercard are the $300,000 Madison (G1), for fillies and mares going seven furlongs; $250,000 Commonwealth (G3), for older horses at seven furlongs; and the Shakertown, for 3-year-olds and older at 5½ furlongs on the turf.

The Toyota Blue Grass, for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles, and the Central Bank Ashland, for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles, are worth 100 points each to the winners on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Road to the Kentucky Oaks, respectively. Last year’s Central Bank Ashland winner, Lovely Maria, went on to win the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1).

Stakes action during the Spring Meet’s second week begins with the $125,000 Appalachian (G3) Presented by Japan Racing Association, moved to Thursday, April 14, and held three days earlier than in prior years. The Appalachian is a one-mile race on the turf for 3-year-old fillies.

The following day, older horses will compete in the $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1), one of the sport’s key turf stakes early in the year.

Anchoring the second Saturday of racing, April 16, is the Coolmore Jenny Wiley, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares on the turf. The day also includes the $200,000 Ben Ali (G3) for older horses racing 1 1/8 miles for a purse that was increased $50,000; the $150,000 Lexington (G3), a 1 1/16-mile race that offers 3-year-olds points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby; and the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway (L), a 5½-furlong turf race for fillies and mares.

The second weekend of the Spring Meet concludes April 17 with the $150,000 Adena Springs Beaumont (G3) for 3-year-old fillies over the Beard Course distance of 7 furlongs and 184 feet.

Older horses are featured in stakes competition during the final days of the Spring Meet. Keeneland hosts the $100,000 Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3) for fillies and mares at
1 1/16 miles on April 22; $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn (G2) at 1½ miles on the turf on April 23; and $150,000 Bewitch (G3) for fillies and mares racing 1½ miles on the turf on closing day, April 24.

Gates open each day at 11 a.m. ET. Post time for the first race is 1:05 p.m.