01/20/2011 11:34AM

Keeneland spring meet to offer 16 stakes worth $3.4 million

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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.