Keeneland has released its $5.575 million stakes schedule for the 17-day fall meeting on October 5-27, a record for a season without the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Highlighted by the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), the 18-race stakes schedule includes the inaugural running of the $200,000 Indian Summer, one of 10 “Win & You’re In” races for the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series at Keeneland.
The meet begins with its signature three-day Fall Stars Weekend and opening-day delivers a pair of graded stakes: the $400,000 Alciabides (G1) and $250,000 Phoenix (G2), which serve as “Win & You’re In” races for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), respectively.
October 6 promises to be a blockbuster afternoon at the Lexington, Kentucky track with five graded events on tap including the Shadwell Turf Mile, which guarantees a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). The prestigious $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) will yield runners for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Automatic berths for the Filly & Mare Turf (G1) and Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) will be awarded in the $400,000 First Lady (G1) and $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2).
On October 7, Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) hopefuls will meet in the $500,000 Spinster (G1). The $250,000 Bourbon (G3) presents a berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and the Indian Summer, which will be contested at 5 ½ furlongs on turf for 2-year-olds, has been created as a prep for the newly-added Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.
The 10th Breeders’ Cup Challenge series race, the $200,000 Jessamine (G2) on October 10, has received a $50,000 purse increase and been elevated from Grade 3 status in 2018. It was captured by subsequent Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) winner Rushing Fall last year.
“Year after year, Keeneland’s Fall Meet grows in stature, thanks to its lucrative purses and major stakes,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “The season is a key launching pad for the Breeders’ Cup, and we are pleased to introduce the Indian Summer as a 10th Breeders’ Cup Challenge race to further enhance our spectacular Fall Stars Weekend.”
The sixth and final Grade 1 event of the fall meet, the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1), will be offered on October 13. The remaining stakes schedule is comprised of the $200,000 Woodford (G2) on April 6; $100,000 Franklin (G3) on October 12; $100,000 Sycamore (G3) on October 18; $150,000 Valley View (G3) on October 19; $250,000 Raven Run (G2) on October 20; $125,000 Dowager (G3) on October 21 and $200,000 Fayette (G2) on October 27.
NBC will cover four of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge races at Keeneland on opening weekend. The Shadwell Turf Mile and Breeders’ Futurity will be televised on October 6, and the Spinster and Bourbon the following afternoon.