Keeneland will be the focus of Thoroughbred racing this autumn when the track presents 18 stakes worth a total of $4.775 million during its 2020 Fall Meet, to be held Oct. 2-24 ahead of the 37th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland on Nov. 6-7.
The prestigious Fall Stars Weekend opens the 17-day season, which also features the repositioning of the GII Hagyard Fayette to join the GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on the second Saturday of the meet and serve as a prep for the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 7.
“The Keeneland fall racing season is highly anticipated by horsemen and fans alike, but this one is even more exciting as it serves as a prelude for the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing Bob Elliston said. “We expect to welcome many Breeders’ Cup-bound stars, both human and equine, that will boost the racing competition and the handicapping fun during the Fall Meet and build momentum leading into the World Championships.”
Keeneland will host the Breeders’ Cup for the second time following its successful debut at the track in 2015.
Nine Fall Stars Weekend stakes are “Win and You’re In” events, part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series that awards each winner an automatic and free entry into the World Championships: GI Darley Alcibiades (Juvenile Fillies) and GII Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (Sprint) Friday, Oct. 2; GI Shadwell Turf Mile (TVG Mile), GI Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (TVG Juvenile), GI First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare (Maker’s Mark Filly and Mare Turf) and GII Thoroughbred Club of America (Filly and Mare Sprint) Saturday, Oct. 3; and GI Juddmonte Spinster (Distaff), GII Bourbon (Juvenile Turf Presented by Coolmore America) and Indian Summer (Juvenile Turf Sprint) Sunday, Oct. 4.
The other graded stakes during Fall Stars Weekend, also being run Saturday, Oct. 3, is the GII Woodford.
Last year, Fall Stars Weekend produced three Breeders’ Cup winners. Darley Alcibiades winner British Idiom (Flashback) won the Juvenile Fillies; Juddmonte Spinster winner Blue Prize (Arg) (Pure Prize) took the Distaff and First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare winner Uni (GB) (More Than Ready) captured the Mile. British Idiom and Uni both were division champions.
Keeneland’s 10th Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, set for Wednesday, Oct. 7, is the GII JPMorgan Chase Jessamine. The winner earns a spot in the starting gate for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
The Fall Meet’s sixth Grade I stakes, the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Dixiana, an invitational turf race for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles, will be held Saturday, Oct. 10.