01/20/2011 11:34AM

Keeneland spring meet to offer 16 stakes worth $3.4 million


Keeneland Race Course released the stakes schedule for the 2011 spring meet with minimal change from years past, although three stakes have undergone moderate purse cuts from 2010.

The 15-day meet at the Lexington, Ky., track runs April 8-29, and the richest event, as usual, is the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes on April 16. The Blue Grass is one of four Grade 1 races on tap, along with the $400,000 Ashland on April 9, the $300,000 Vinery Madison on April 14, and the $300,000 Maker’s Mark Mile on April 15.

The races with purse cuts are the Grade 2, $175,000 Commonwealth, down from $250,000; the Grade 3, $200,000 Coolmore Lexington, formerly a Grade 2 worth $300,000; and the Grade 2, $150,000 Elkorn, down from $200,000 after losing its title sponsor for this year.

In all, 16 stakes worth more than $3.4 million are on the schedule. Fifteen of the stakes are graded, and half will be run on turf.

Keeneland expects to offer per-day purses in excess of $600,000, among the highest in North America.

Keeneland is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, having been founded in 1936.