04/19/2017 9:40AM

Franklin-Simpson Stakes added to rich September meet

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Kentucky Downs officials on Wednesday released the stakes schedule for its abbreviated meet in September, when purses for five days of racing could average nearly $1.7 million per card – tops in North America – when supplementary funds for Kentucky-bred horses are included.

Two stakes at turf-only Kentucky Downs were granted Grade 3 status over the winter: the $400,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint and the $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf. They join the only race previously graded at the south-central Kentucky track, the Grade 3, $600,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Cup.

In all, 13 stakes will be contested at a meet to be run Sept. 2, 7, 9, 10, and 14. The biggest day is Sept. 9, when all three graded races and the $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint will be held.

A new stakes for 3-year-olds, the $250,000 Franklin-Simpson, will be run on closing day, Sept. 14. Two stakes have new names: the $400,000 Tourist Mile (formerly the More Than Ready) and the $350,000 Ramsey Farm Stakes (formerly the Ladies Marathon).

“We are putting out our stakes schedule 4 1/2 months in advance to give horsemen plenty of time to chart out their summer and fall schedule,” racing secretary Tyler Picklesimer said in a media release.

Total purses are projected at more than $8.4 million, with a little more than half of the money coming from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund for registered Kentucky-breds. Maiden special weight races once again will be worth as much as $130,000, and allowances will range from $140,000 to $145,000.

Here’s a link to the Kentucky Downs condition book.

Kentucky Downs purses have been helped immensely by the slots-like Instant Racing machines that purport to simulate live horse races and became operational in September 2011. The track and its main facility hosting the machines are located adjacent to the border of Tennessee, where gaming and horse racing are illegal.