06/29/2006 12:00AM

Kentucky Cup moved to closing weekend


Turfway Park has moved its $825,000 Kentucky Cup series to the last weekend of its fall meet in order to better accommodate horsemen as they point their horses to the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup championships.

The 13th annual Kentucky Cup will be run Sept. 30, two weeks later than the traditional mid-September date. The new date is five weeks before the 23rd Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs.

"We believe this makes things more convenient for horsemen," said Bob Elliston, president of Turfway. "They can come in on a tighter time frame, race in the Kentucky Cup, then at the Keeneland meet, and then on to the Breeders' Cup."

The Kentucky Cup normally has been run three weeks before opening weekend of the Keeneland fall meet, when Keeneland stages its "FallStars Weekend" that includes several major Breeders' Cup preps. Over the years, however, relatively few Kentucky Cup horses have wheeled back in three weeks to compete in a FallStars race. Opening weekend this year at Keeneland, which is the majority owner of Turfway, is Oct. 6 to Oct. 8.

"It didn't seem like the Kentucky Cup and FallStars were connected that much, anyway," said Elliston.

The shifting of the Kentucky Cup meant Turfway had to revise the entire stakes schedule at the 22-day fall meet, which runs Sept. 6 to Oct. 5. Three Saturday stakes will precede the Kentucky Cup: the Turfway Park Fall Championship on Sept. 9, the Marfa on Sept. 16, and the Weekend Delight on Sept. 23.

Turfway also announced a new entry schedule whereby entries will be drawn anywhere from three to five days before race day.