Kentucky Downs will stage its first $1-million race in track history with the 2019 GIII Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup getting a $250,000 purse increase. It is one of five stakes slated for Sept. 7.
The all-grass track’s 14 stakes will offer a record total of $7.4 million in purses and KTDF supplements. Opening on the last day of August, Kentucky Downs will run Aug. 31 and Sept. 5, 7, 8 and 12. Kentucky Downs’ average daily purses topping $2 million a race card are the highest in North America and Europe.
“Having our first $1-million race is just the next logical step in Kentucky Downs’ ascent as a national leader,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ senior vice president and general manager. “The Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup is our oldest stakes, having a different name but starting back in 1990 when the track opened. So it’s fitting this is our race that first reaches the seven-digit landmark, especially teaming with one of the most iconic names in horse racing in Calumet Farm.”
Eight stakes received purse hikes for the 2019 meet, including the GIII Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint from $500,000 to $700,000. The six-furlong stakes is the track’s first to be selected for the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.