06/03/2008 12:00AM

Keeneland fall stakes worth record $5.4M


Keeneland Race Course will have a record $5.4 million stakes schedule for its fall meet that begins Oct. 3 and continues through Oct. 25, Keeneland announced Tuesday.

Fifteen of the track's 19 stakes this fall are graded, including three whose graded status was upgraded this year by the American Graded Stakes Committee. The $400,000 First Lady, for older fillies and mares at one mile on the turf, became a Grade 1 after being a Grade 2 last year; and the Woodford Reserve Bourbon, for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, and Bryan Station, for 3-year-olds at one mile on the turf, were elevated from listed to Grade 3 events.

Purses for two stakes, the Woodford Reserve Bourbon, and the Woodford Stakes (for 3-year-olds and up at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf), were both increased $50,000, to $200,000 and $150,000, respectively.

The meet will begin with what Keeneland calls FallStars Weekend, three days of racing highlighted by nine stakes wortha total of $3.4 million, including such major Breeders' Cup preps as the Darley Alcibiades, the Shadwell Turf Mile, the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity, and the Juddmonte Spinster.

Six of the weekend's stakes are part of the Breeders' Cup's Win and You're In series, where winners automatically qualify for the corresponding divisional race in the Breeders' Cup World Championships, to be held Oct. 24-25 at Santa Anita.

Highlighting the middle portion of the meet is the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on Oct. 11, a Grade 1 contest for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf.