08/03/2012 11:09AM

Churchill Downs: Clark Handicap purse reduction among fall meet stakes changes


Churchill Downs has decreased purses for the traditional fall-meet anchors, the Grade 1 Clark Handicap and Grade 2 Falls City Handicap, in the most notable of several changes to the 2012 fall stakes schedule at the Louisville, Ky., track.

The Clark, to be run Nov. 23, is now a $400,000-added race, down from a gross total of $572,500 last year, while the Nov. 22 Falls City is now a $150,000-added event, down from $193,725. As usual, those races will anchor closing weekend of a 21-day meet that runs Oct. 28 through Nov. 25.

Other changes to the stakes schedule include the packaging of 3-year-old turf races, the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere and Grade 3 Commonwealth, on the lone Downs After Dark night program on Nov. 17, as well as moving the Grade 3 River City to closing day, Nov. 25, a Sunday date that had been without a stakes race in recent years.

Not counting the 2011 Breeders’ Cup programs, Churchill had one night program last fall, but it was on a Friday. This spring, the track had four night programs, all moved to Saturdays after being held on Fridays in prior years.

As has been custom since 2005, two “Stars of Tomorrow” cards – exclusively for 2-year-olds – will be run on opposite ends of the fall meet, on opening day (Oct. 28) and the final Saturday, Nov. 24. Both of those cards will include graded races for both male and female juveniles.

Churchill’s live lead-in features to simulcasts of the two Breeders’ Cup programs at Santa Anita will be the Grade 3 Ack Ack on Nov. 2 and the Grade 2 Chilukki on Nov. 3.

The Clark, won last year by Wise Dan, has undergone exactly the same purse cut as the Grade 1 Stephen Foster, its older-horse counterpart at the Churchill spring meet. The 2012 Stephen Foster, won by Ron the Greek, was a $400,000-added race, compared to a $500,000 race when Pool Play upset the 2011 running.

In all, 12 graded stakes worth more than $1.8 million are on the stakes schedule.