Bob Elliston

Keeneland To Limit Turf Racing to One Per Program

Officials at Keeneland have announced that they will card just one turf race for each of the final three days of the fall meet Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A total of 2 ½ inches of rain fell in Lexington Monday and Tuesday and the forecast for the next 10 days remains changeable, with additional precipitation a possibility. On Friday and Saturday, race nine will be the afternoon's feature and will remain on the turf, weather permitting. Thursday's race six allowance will also stay on the grass. All other races originally...

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Keeneland to Offer 18 Stakes Races During Fall Meet

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...

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MSW Purses: $97K Derby Week, $75K Rest of Churchill Meet; $70K at Keeneland

Projected autumn purse levels for maiden special weight races on the Kentucky circuit were revealed during a video meeting of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) advisory committee on Tuesday. Ben Huffman, director of racing at Churchill Downs, said, "We're going to have two [MSW] purses. We're going to supercharge [GI Kentucky] Derby week, like we've been doing. And that maiden purse Derby week is going to be $97,000. The remaining nine days are going to be $75,000." Churchill had closed out its spring/summer season at the $79,000 level for...

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Keeneland Announces Operations Realignment

Keeneland is undergoing a "strategic realignment of its core racing and sales operations to strengthen its ability to execute its mission and better serve the needs of its global clientele," it announced Thursday. Shannon Arvin, who it was announced earlier this month will succeed Bill Thomason as the company's President and CEO at the end of 2020, will serve as Interim Head of Sales while a search is conducted this fall to fill that role. While a partner at the Lexington law firm Stoll Keenon Ogden (SKO), Arvin has served...

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Keeneland Tweaks September Format

Keeneland announced slight format changes to its September yearling sale Friday via an email to participants from its Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston. "Many of you received session assignments for the September Sale earlier this week and received news that we've made a slight tweak to the sale schedule after finalizing entries and hip numbers," Elliston explained. "As we previously shared with you, the sale will begin on Sunday, Sept. 13, to accommodate the record number of entries to the sale for 2020." The adjusted Keeneland September...

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Hard Spun Filly Tops Keeneland Digital HRA Sale

by Brian DiDonato & Katie Ritz Regally bred 3-year-old filly Trapezium (Hard Spun) (hip 26) topped Keeneland's first-ever digital auction, the Select Horses of Racing Age sale, Tuesday on a winning bid of $327,000 from Vinnie Viola's St. Elias Stables. A Gulfstream maiden special weight runner-up in February, the granddaughter of blue hen Toussaud was consigned by her owner/breeder, Juddmonte Farms, Inc. The Juddmonte draft was responsible for four or the sale's top five lots at the close of trade. "The successful launch of the Digital Sales Ring marks a...

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Keeneland Summer Meet Condition Book Released

Keeneland has released the condition book for its five-day Summer Meet at Keeneland, to be held Wednesday, July 8 through Sunday, July 12. The condition book is available online at Keeneland.com/racing or by clicking here. "We are excited to offer such a high-quality Condition Book and to have the opportunity to present a number of major graded stakes traditionally held during the Spring Meet," Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. "We thank our horsemen for their strong support of Keeneland and our racing program."   Keeneland will...

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Keeneland Launches Digital Sales Ring; Online Select Horses of Racing Age Sale Set for June 23

Keeneland officials have announced the launch of the Keeneland Digital Sales Ring, a stand-alone online auction platform accessible to buyers and sellers around the world at Keenelanddigital.com. Kicking off the new digital platform will be a Select Horses of Racing Age Sale scheduled for June 23. "The Keeneland Digital Sales Ring marks a significant milestone in our rich sales history and expands the realm of high-quality sales options Keeneland can deliver," Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. "This tool does not replace Keeneland's traditional live sales format but rather...

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The Week in Review: Summer Means Saratoga and Del Mar. Now Keeneland, Too?

Keeneland Race Course will be seeking a short summer race meet after losing its spring season to COVID-19 closure. Yet management at the Lexington track is trying to be mindful that such a move would have a ripple effect not only on Ellis Park, which traditionally has the Kentucky circuit all to itself during that time frame, but also the horse populations and stakes programs at Saratoga and Del Mar, the bi-coastal heavyweights that dominate American racing in the mid-July through Labor Day window. "We're looking to run an abbreviated...

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In Advance of Horse Influx, Human COVID-19 Testing Begins in Kentucky

by T.D. Thornton & Bill Finley Even before their stabling areas officially begin readmitting horses next week, Churchill Downs and Keeneland are already working in tandem to provide on-site COVID-19 testing of backstretch workers and licensed personnel who will be involved when racing resumes at Churchill May 16. A negative result will be required to gain access to both racetracks. The mandate of swab testing for all Kentucky racetrack personnel exceeds the scope of recommendations published May 7 by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA). Bob Elliston, Keeneland's vice president...

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Letter to the Industry: Bob Elliston, Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales

I hope this note finds each of you well and healthy. During these uncertain times, every day presents a new set of challenges and surprises on both a personal and professional level. As we navigate this fluid situation together, we hope that these regular email communications covering both sales and racing provide helpful information to guide your decisions over the coming weeks and months. Thank you for the tremendous feedback following last week's newsletter. In this edition, we're taking the opportunity to address a few specific questions from you, our...

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Keeneland September Sale to Start as Planned Sept. 14

Keeneland's 2020 September Yearling Sale will begin as planned Monday, Sept. 14, the sales company asserted in a press release Friday. "This auction is vital not only to Keeneland, but to the entire Thoroughbred industry and the Central Kentucky community at large," Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. "The Keeneland sales team is moving forward full steam with plans for the September Sale. Like every aspect of life right now, there are unknowns and we do not have all the answers yet. However, one thing is certain: We are...

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