Keeneland, Churchill Expect Rise in Maiden Purses

Track officials for Keeneland and Churchill Downs revealed during a Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund Advisory Committee video meeting Feb. 1 that they expect maiden special weight purses to increase during their spring meets from last year.

Keeneland anticipates for its spring meet maiden special weight purses to be $100,000 for older horses and $80,000 for 2-year-olds, the Lexington track’s vice president of racing Gatewood Bell said in Tuesday’s meeting.

At Keeneland’s spring meet a year ago, maiden races for older horses had a purse of $79,000 and juvenile maiden races carried a $60,000 purse.

Bell also allowance noted that one-other-than allowances during the upcoming spring meet April 8-29 would run for $110,000, two-other-than allowances $120,000, three-other-than allowances $130,000, and open allowances $140,000.

Bell said he hopes that purses for Keeneland’s fall meet in October, which this year leads up to hosting the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, are similar to the spring levels.

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Keeneland intends to include Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund money to its stakes program for the first time at its spring meet, Bell noted.

“We’ll have a $7.7 million stakes schedule this year for 19 races and $1.5 million of that is hopefully going to be KTDF funds—$150,000 on the Blue Grass (G1), $100,000 on all the remaining grade 1s in the 3-year- old races, and then $50,000 each on the rest of the stakes races,” Bell said.

KTDF money is paid to owners of registered Kentucky-sered, Kentucky-bred runners in races designated for KTDF purse supplements.

First Time By.  She's A Julie with Ricardo Santana Jr.  wins the La Troienne (G1) at Churchill Downs during Derby week 2019 May 3, 2019 in Louisville, Ky.  <br />” src=”https://cms-images.bloodhorse.com/i/bloodhorse-images/2019/05/88198306f9d7483895335cdd32e84b99.jpg?preset=medium” style=”border-width: 0px;” title=”First Time By.  She’s A Julie with Ricardo Santana Jr.  wins the La Troienne (G1) at Churchill Downs during Derby week 2019 May 3, 2019 in Louisville, Ky.  <br />“/><figcaption><small>Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt</small></p>
<p>Racing during the spring meet at Churchill Downs</p>
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<p>Mike Ziegler, senior vice president and general manager of Churchill Downs, said during Tuesday’s meeting that while the spring purse structure is not yet finalized, the Louisville oval expects maiden special weight purses to fall in line with the track’s fall meet at $120,000.</p>
<p>Purses in Kentucky are bolstered by historical horse racing gaming revenue.</p>
<p>During Churchill Downs’ 2021 spring meet, outside Kentucky Derby weekend, maiden special weights were conducted at $100,000.  Over Derby weekend, maiden special weights were worth $115,000.</p>
<p>Ziegler also said that Churchill Downs will run additional dates in June and that the turf course renovation is currently on track to be ready for the spring meet.  The track did not conduct turf racing at its 2021 fall meet.</p>
<p>“We’ve added Wednesdays back… We’re going to have a lot more opportunities with those three Wednesdays in June,” Ziegler said.  “But the most important thing is the completion of the turf course. We’ve all been waiting for this thing to get done and at this point in time—knock on wood—all things are aligned and turf racing back at Churchill Downs spring should be a fantastic addition to what we’re doing.”</p>
<p>With the additional June dates, racing that month will be conducted five days a week.  Ziegler added that Churchill Downs will conduct one week with six days of live racing surrounding the July 4 holiday, which falls on a Monday this year.</p>
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