02/12/2013 3:06PM

Keeneland boosts purses for overnight races

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Purses for non-stakes races at the Keeneland spring meet will be increased by at least $1,000 per race, track officials announced Tuesday, with some races getting a raise of as much as $8,000 from previous levels.

Maiden and allowance races for 3-year-olds and upward will be run for a minimum of $58,000, while those same classes of races for 2-year-olds will be run for at least $52,000. For years, most of those races had been contested for $50,000. Also, purses for claiming races will increase by $1,000.

In all, the overnight purse structure at the Lexington, Ky., track will be increased by a gross of $627,000, bringing projected per-day purses to about $540,000, according to a track media release. The spring stakes schedule, announced last month, is expected to offer more than $3.6 million in purses.

Purses are funded by the proceeds from the four annual auctions at the Keeneland Association; revenue from all-sources wagering on live racing at Keeneland; and profits from the new online wagering site, Keeneland Select.

“True to our mission, Keeneland continues to invest in the betterment of Thoroughbred racing – even as that mission is made increasingly difficult because we are competing against racetracks that are funded by alternative gaming revenue,” Keeneland president Bill Thomason said in the release. “We remain committed to finding ways to help our industry and our horsemen because we believe racing is a great sport, and we remain excited about its future.”

Marshall Field More than 1 year ago
I still think they should raise the purse for the Blue Grass to a million....Keeneland should have a million dollar race....
drksrhein More than 1 year ago
They are later thus year
mikey More than 1 year ago
The same fields are running for much less at Turfway.Fairgrounds and who knows where else.Keenland is Turfway with flowers.
mike More than 1 year ago
Really, I don't see any New York horses at Turfway, Turfway is cheap racing period
Robert Tuccille More than 1 year ago
why wont keenland bring back real dirt???we now know the polly-track was a waste..
akhiym james More than 1 year ago
I know the racing secretary Ben Huffman and I remember years ago when he told me he was switching the surface. I didn't believe him and I can't believe he really did that. Please go back to dirt so Blue Grass and other races will actually mean something to the horse who wins it and is not a turf/poly specialist.
Mike More than 1 year ago
While I'd also love to see real dirt return at Keeneland, they're unlikely to do so as long as they show increases in handle, attendance, etc. as they have in recent meets. While many of us handicappers complain about Polytrack, the handle numbers at both meets continue to outperform the industry norms. What most people don't understand is Keeneland makes their big $$ on the sales, not on racing. They treat racing as a social function, and are completely unfazed that their main track stakes are irrelevant on the national scene. They continue to focus on having full fields and keeping on track injury statistics at a minimum. Even Poytrack is better than the inside speed bias that dominated for years. Anybody remember the race Sinister Minister ran in the Bluegrass, and how completely irrelevant that was when he ran in the Derby? Those type of races were way too frequent on their dirt surface!
Place More than 1 year ago
Mike, i was thinking about Sinister Minister the whole time on the switching the track surface. Coincidentally, that was my last winner at Keeneland. I cant pick a winner there now to save my life.
john p More than 1 year ago
If you were a jockey and rode at keeneland in the spring. You would know why! The track was a mess ,when it rained or snowed!
joakim muth More than 1 year ago
Keeneland does whats best for the EQUINE Stars, therefore they keep the Poly. Racing is about the horses not the handicappers. Looking at the handle and the amount of runners they must be doing it right.