Keeneland, which is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, will offer a record $6-million in stakes purses and expanded 22-race stakes schedule at its upcoming fall meet. The meet, which covers 17 days of racing from Oct. 8-30, will open with the signature Fall Stars Weekend, feature 10 Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” races, offer two new $150,000 stakes for 2-year-olds and reposition several stakes to create a total of six race cards with multiple stakes.
“The Keeneland Fall Meet is incredibly important, and 85 years of racing at Keeneland is a testament to the uncommon vision of our founders, who tirelessly worked to create an entity that would take a leadership role in the global Thoroughbred industry and in the Central Kentucky community,” Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said. “This summer, as we look forward to welcoming back fans and the superstars who will compete here, we feel the anticipation building for the Fall Meet and we look forward to celebrating the anniversary.”
All existing stakes for the 2021 Fall Meet have been restored to 2019 purse levels except for the GIII Rood & Riddle Dowager S., which received a boost from $125,000 to $150,000, and the GI Keeneland Turf Mile and GII Bourbon S., which remain at 2020 levels of $750,000 and $200,000, respectively.
“After thoughtful review by our racing team and input from horsemen, we made adjustments to our fall stakes program that will further elevate the quality of racing throughout the meet,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing Gatewood Bell said. “We feel the lucrative purse money and expanded racing opportunities, including two new stakes for 2-year-olds, now in place will broaden Keeneland's appeal to horsemen and fans alike.”
During Fall Stars Weekend, nine stakes are included in the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series Presented by America's Best Racing. Each winner receives an automatic starting position and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Nov. 5-6 World Championships at Del Mar:
- $400,000 GI Darley Alcibiades (GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies) and $250,000 GII Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (GI Sprint) Friday, Oct. 8;
- $750,000 GI Keeneland Turf Mile (GI FanDuel Mile), $500,000 GI Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (GI TVG Juvenile), $400,000 GI First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare (GI Maker's Mark F/M Turf) and $250,000 GII Thoroughbred Club of America (GI F/M Sprint) Saturday, Oct. 9; and
- $500,000 GI Juddmonte Spinster (GI Distaff), $200,000 GII Bourbon (GI Juvenile Turf) and $200,000 listed Indian Summer (GII Juvenile Turf Sprint) Sunday, Oct. 10.
The fifth stakes on Fall Stars Saturday, Oct. 9, is the $200,000 GII Woodford S. Presented by TVG.
On Wednesday, Oct. 13, Keeneland will present its 10th Breeders' Cup Challenge race, the $200,000 GII JPMorgan Chase Jessamine S. (GI Juvenile Fillies Turf).
The Fall Meet's sixth Grade I stakes is the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Dixiana, an invitational turf race for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles, to be run Saturday, Oct. 16.
For the season, Keeneland has shifted the dates of several stakes. The first is the $150,000 GIII Sycamore S., a 1 1/2-mile turf event for 3-year-olds and up, which has been moved from Thursday to Friday, Oct. 22.
To enhance the final days of the Fall Meet, Keeneland has introduced two new $150,000 juvenile stakes, the Myrtlewood S. and Bowman Mill S.; revived the Perryville S. and Bryan Station S., both fixtures for 3-year-olds, and scheduled the GIII Valley View S. and GII Hagyard Fayette S. to create multiple stakes cards:
Joining the $250,000 GII Lexus Raven Run S. Saturday, Oct 23 is the $150,000 Perryville, a 7-furlong race for 3-year-olds.
The $150,000 Valley View S.will be run Friday, Oct. 29 alongside the new $150,000 Myrtlewood for 2-year-old fillies at 6 furlongs.
The $200,000 Hagyard Fayette, for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles, resumes its traditional role as the Fall Meet's closing-day feature. Joining the Hagyard Fayette Saturday, Oct. 30 are the $150,000 Bryan Station for 3-year-olds at one mile on the turf and the new $150,000 Bowman Mill for 2-year-olds at six furlongs.