01/16/2002 12:00AM

Add $100,000 Madison to spring meet stakes


Keeneland Race Course released the stakes schedule for its 2002 spring meet, making only one addition to what always is a rich and important roster of races.

The $100,000 Madison Stakes, for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs, is new to the stakes schedule, which comprises 19 races worth a total of $3.65 million. The Madison will be run April 10.

The 16-day meet runs April 5 through April 26, with Mondays and Tuesdays dark. Per-day purses at the spring meet are expected to average again more than $600,000, the highest in North America. A stakes race worth at least $100,000 will be run every day of the meet.

The first major race is the $500,000, Grade 1 Ashland Stakes, a major Kentucky Oaks prep to be run April 6.

The biggest race of the meet is the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, a premier Kentucky Derby prep, to be run April 13. Keeneland's other Derby prep, the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes, is set for April 20.

Other major races include the $200,000 Maker's Mark Mile on April 12 and the $250,000 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup on April 14.

The closing-day features are the $250,000 Stonerside Beaumont, a Grade 2 race for 3-year-old fillies, and the $175,000 Royal Chase for the Sport of Kings, a Grade 1 steeplechase event. The Beaumont switches places with the April 21 Ben Ali Stakes, which previously had been a closing-day co-feature.