The stakes schedule for the Keeneland Fall Meeting was released Wednesday, featuring 22 events worth a record $9.05 million in prize money.
The richest event is the $1-million GI Coolmore Turf Mile, while the purse for the GI Darley Alcibiades S. has been increased by $100,000 to $600,000. The Franklin S., raised to Grade II status for this running, will receive a $50,000 boost to $350,000. Of the 22 added-money events, 12 are slated for the turf and 10 on the dirt, with six programs offering multiple stakes. The Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund is contributing $1.3 million to Fall Meet stakes purses, pending approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
“The strength of the Fall Meet stakes schedule reflects our focus on providing the highest-quality racing for our horsemen and fans,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing Gatewood Bell said. “With these additional increases, all Grade I stakes are now worth a minimum of $600,000; all Grade II stakes are $350,000; Grade III races are $300,000; and listed stakes are $250,000. We believe these purse levels will attract the best in the sport and make for an exciting fall season of racing.”
The traditional kick-off to the Fall Meet is 'FallStars Weekend' Oct. 6-8, with eight 'Win and You're In' qualifiers for various Breeders' Cup divisions. The opening day Alcibiades is complemented by the GII Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix S. and the GII Jessamine S., sponsored for the first time by the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, taking place Nov. 7. The Saturday, Oct. 7 card features the Coolmore Turf Mile, the GI Breeders' Futurity–in its 10th year of sponsorship by Claiborne Farm–and the GII Thoroughbred Club of America S. as Breeders' Cup qualifiers, while the GI First Lady S. and GII Woodford S. are also set for day two of the meet. All three races on the Sunday program offer Breeders' Cup berths: the GI Juddmonte Spinster S., the GII Castle & Key Bourbon S. and the Listed Indian Summer S.
The 40th running of the GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Oct. 14 anchors the second week of racing and will bring together some of the world's top 3-year-old turf fillies over nine furlongs on turf in the race first contested in 1984 to commemorate the Queen's visit to Keeneland and Lexington. The GIII Sycamore S. and Franklin are set for Oct. 13 and Oct. 15, respectively.
The GII Lexus Raven Run S. and GIII Rood & Riddle Dowager S. feature the weekend of Oct. 21 and 22, while the GIII Valley View S., the GIII Hagyard Fayette S. and GIII Bryan Station S. are slated closing weekend Oct. 27 and 28.