06/21/2006 11:00PM

Autumn stakes run on Polytrack


Racing at Keeneland will not look the same when its synthetic Polytrack surface is unveiled this fall, but the track's stakes races will remain very similar to those from recent years.

Keeneland announced its fall stakes schedule on Thursday, and it differs little from last year's schedule. Nineteen stakes are on tap, with purses totaling $5.1 million, narrowly up from 2005's fall-meet total of $5,075,000. The 17-day meet runs Oct. 6-28.

The strength of the stakes schedule comes early in the meet with several preps for the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs. The meet opens with "Fallstars Weekend," three days of racing featuring seven stakes worth a total of $2.5 million. The weekend is anchored by three Grade 1 events: the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile, the $500,000 Breeders' Futurity, and $500,000 Spinster.

In one of the other meet highlights, fillies and mares are spotlighted the following Saturday, Oct. 14, in the Grade 1, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.

Construction is ongoing at Keeneland to install Polytrack, a waxed blend of sand, carpet fibers, and rubber that its supporters believe is safer and more forgiving than traditional dirt tracks. A Polytrack surface was installed at Turfway Park last September, and one is being installed later this year at Woodbine. A synthetic surface similar to Polytrack, called Cushion Track, will be installed at Hollywood Park this summer.

2006 fall stakes schedule

Fri., Oct. 6Alcibiades (G2)2YO F1 1/16 miles $400,000
Fri., Oct. 6Sycamore Breeders' Cup (G3)3yo & up1 1/2 miles (T)150,000
Sat., Oct. 7Shadwell Turf Mile (G1)3YO &up1 mile (T)600,000
Sat., Oct. 7Breeders' Futurity (G1)2YO1 1/16 miles500,000
Sat., Oct. 7Phoenix Breeders' Cup (G3)3yo & up6 furlongs250,000
Sun., Oct. 8Spinster (G1)3yo & up, F&M1 1/8 miles500,000
Sun., Oct. 8Woodford3YO &up5 1/2 furlongs (T)100,000
Fri.,Oct. 13Perryville (G3)3YO7 furlongs 184 ft.200,000
Sat.,Oct. 14Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1)3YO F1 1/8 miles500,000
Sat.,Oct. 14 First Lady (G2)3yo & up, F&M1 mile (T)400,000
Sat.,Oct. 14Thoroughbred Club of America (G3)3yo & up, F&M6 furlongs300,000
Sun.,Oct. 15Bryan Station3YO1 mile (T)150,000
Thur.,Oct. 19Franklin County3yo & up, F&M5 1/2 furlongs (T)100,000
Fri.,Oct. 20Valley View (G3)3YO F1 1/16 miles (T)125,000
Sat.,Oct. 21Raven Run (G2)3YO F7 furlongs300,000
Sun.,Oct. 22Dowager3yo & up, F&M1 1/2 miles (T)150,000
Thur.,Oct. 26 Jessamine2YO F1 1/16 miles (T)100,000
Fri.,Oct. 27Woodford Reserve Bourbon Stakes2YO1 1/16 miles (T)125,000
Sat.,Oct. 28Fayette (G3)3yo & up1 1/8 miles150,000