01/06/2016 11:24AM

Shakertown, Jenny Wiley stakes get purse increases


Officials at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., on Wednesday released the stakes schedule for the 2016 spring meet with minimal changes from last year, when the Blue Grass Stakes was moved a week farther out from the Kentucky Derby.

Once again, the Grade 1, $1 million Blue Grass will be the meet highlight, with its 92nd running on the first Saturday of the 16-day meet, April 9, four weeks prior to the May 7 Derby. The 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass, which had been run three weeks before the Derby for nearly 30 years, is one of five graded stakes on the April 9 card.

The Blue Grass is one of five Grade 1 events at a meet that runs through April 29. The others are the Ashland, Madison, Maker’s 46 Mile, and Jenny Wiley.

The meet opens April 8 with the Grade 3 Transylvania for 3-year-old turf horses. There are no stakes on the first Sunday, April 10.

The purse projection for the 16 stakes is $4,225,000. Races that have undergone purse increases from last year are the $200,000 Shakertown, up from $125,000, and the $350,000 Jenny Wiley, up from $300,000.

Coolmore has become the sponsor of the Jenny Wiley while dropping its longtime sponsorship of the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes, which has had its purse lowered from $250,000 to $150,000. The Jenny Wiley and Lexington are among four stakes to be run April 16.

Keeneland is riding a wave of positive publicity after its first-ever Breeders’ Cup on Oct. 30-31 was widely deemed a logistical and aesthetic success.

“The success of the recent Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland heightened enthusiasm for racing here and introduced many horsemen to our world-class facilities and lucrative racing program,” Keeneland vice president Rogers Beasley said in a media release.