01/13/2010 12:00AM

La Troienne back on Churchill stakes schedule


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Churchill Downs on Wednesday released its 2010 stakes schedule for both the spring and fall meets, with some of the minor revisions being attributable to the 27th Breeders' Cup championships being run here Nov. 5-6.

The spring schedule, highlighted as always by the $2 million Kentucky Derby on May 1, underwent a handful of changes, most notably the restoration of the La Troienne Stakes. The $300,000 La Troienne replaces what had been known as the Louisville Stakes, formerly the Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap, a filly-mare race held annually on the Kentucky Oaks undercard. Until being renamed the Eight Belles for the 2009 running, the La Troienne had been for 3-year-old fillies on the Derby undercard.

The fall schedule is anchored by the $500,000 Clark Handicap on Nov. 26. The Clark got a $100,000 purse increase after being upgraded to a Grade 1 event last month by the American Graded Stakes Committee.

In all, 40 stakes totaling more than $9 million in purses will be run this year at Churchill - $7.1 million in the spring, and $1,925,000 in the fall. Remarkably, all but one of the stakes are graded, with the Matt Winn being the lone exception.

Other spring races with changes include the opening-day feature, the newly sponsored The Cliff's Edge Derby Trial, which had its purse doubled to $200,000, as well as $25,000 increases for the American Turf, Northern Dancer, Firecracker Handicap, and Early Times Mint Julep. Also, the ungraded Edgewood Stakes was dropped for this year.

The fall schedule was tweaked because of the Breeders' Cup, with these four stakes complementing the championships: the Nov. 4 River City Handicap, the Nov. 5 Ack Ack Handicap,the Nov. 6 Chilukki Stakes, and the Nov. 7 Cardinal Handicap.

A few other minor changes in purse, distance, date, and/or race name also are going into effect.

The spring meet runs April 24 to July 4, and the fall meet from Oct. 31 to Nov. 27.