07/13/2011 4:43PM

Keeneland plans $4.37M stakes schedule for 75th anniversary fall meet


Keeneland representatives announced Wednesday an 18-race, $4.37 million fall stakes schedule – anchored by five Grade 1 races over opening weekend – for its fall meet that celebrates its 75th anniversary of racing and runs Oct. 7-29.

The stakes schedule is up marginally from last fall, when the program totaled $4.35 million, but far less than its schedule of $5.12 million that was showcased in 2009.

The most notable change from last year is the addition of the $125,000 Keeneland 75th Anniversary Stakes for 2-year-old sprinters on the track’s Polytrack synthetic surface. That race, along with the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup, will be run Oct. 15, the date of Keeneland’s first day of live racing in 1936.

One stakes race, the Grade 1 First Lady on Oct. 8, was dropped from $400,000 to $350,000, and another, the $50,000 President of the United Arab Emirates Cup for Arabian horses, was run at Churchill Downs in a change of venue.

In total, nine graded stakes worth more than $2.8 million kick off the first three days of the meet, which as is customary, begins on a Friday, this year falling Oct. 7.

Six of those races are part of the Win and You’re In Challenge Series for the Breeders’ Cup, to be held Nov. 4-5 at Churchill Downs. They are the Grade 1 Alcibiades and Grade 3 Phoenix on Oct. 7; the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile, Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity, and the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America on Oct. 8; and the Grade 1 Spinster Oct. 9.

A little later in the meet, the Oct. 13 Jessamine, upgraded to Grade 3 status this year, serves as a Challenge race for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.