07/08/2009 11:00PM

Keeneland stakes purses take a trim


Keeneland Race Course on Thursday released the stakes schedule for the 2009 fall meet with several notable changes, including $275,000 in purse decreases and a new title sponsor for one of its stakes.

Nineteen stakes worth more than $5.1 million will be run at the 17-day meet, which runs Oct. 9-31 at the Lexington, Ky., track. Sixteen of those stakes are graded, including six Grade 1's, and nine are Breeders' Cup Challenge events that award automatic entry into the Nov. 6-7 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita.

Seven stakes underwent purse decreases, with the Bourbon Stakes, which lost corporate sponsorship, being the hardest hit, going from $200,000 to $125,000. Two races were cut by $50,000 and four others by $25,000. Keeneland director of racing Rogers Beasley said the purse reductions are "a result of the economic climate, which has led to declines in both live and simulcast wagering revenues."

Dixiana Stables, owned by William Shively, replaces Lane's End Farm as the title sponsor for the Grade 1, $500,000 Breeders' Futurity.

As usual, the meet is front-loaded with a slew of major Breeders' Cup preps packaged as FallStars Weekend (Oct. 9-11).

Three races have been upgraded a notch for this meet by the American Graded Stakes Committee. The Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes and Fayette Stakes are now Grade 2 events, and the Woodford, a turf sprint, is now a Grade 3.