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Keeneland raises purses for spring meet

Keeneland will increase purses for overnight (non-stakes) races for the upcoming 2013 spring race meeting, highlighted by notable increases for maiden and allowance races for horses three-year-olds and up.

The minimum purses for maiden and allowance races for three-year-olds and older will increase to $58,000 while those same purses for two-year-olds will increase to a minimum of $52,000. Previously, those races were run for a minimum of $50,000 regardless of age. Additionally, Keeneland will increase the purses for all claiming races by $1,000 each.

Over the 16-day meet, these increases will add more than $627,000 to the purse pool, raising Keeneland's average daily purses to more than $540,000, ranking it among the highest in North America. Keeneland already has one of the of the richest stakes programs in the country, with spring stakes purses totaling $3.625 million.

"We believe it is important to support all levels of our racing program. By boosting purses for our overnight races, we are able to reward those horsemen who compete at Keeneland day after day, bringing their full stables here every April and October," Vice President of Racing W.B. Rogers Beasley said. "It is important to recognize their commitment to us. Fortunately, the Thoroughbred market appears to have stabilized, allowing us to make these purse increases. Obviously, without the support of our consignors and buyers at our auction sales, and the wagering public during our live meetings, this would not be possible."

Keeneland's purses are fueled by the proceeds from its four annual auctions as well as revenue from all-sources wagering on Keeneland's live racing, and profits from Keeneland Select, its advance deposit wagering business.

"True to our mission, Keeneland continues to invest in the betterment of Thoroughbred racing -- even as that mission is made increasingly difficult because we are competing against racetracks that are funded by alternative gaming revenue," Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. "We remain committed to finding ways to help our industry and our horsemen because we believe racing is a great sport, and we remain excited about its future."

Keeneland's 16-day race meeting begins on Friday, April 5 and continues through Friday, April 26.

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