08/27/2014 3:58PM

Three stakes days on tap for Kentucky Downs

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Shannon Hargis
Kentucky Downs, the turf-only track located on the south-central border of the state, opens Sept. 6 with three stakes, including a pair for 2-year-olds and the new Dueling Grounds Derby for 3-year-olds.

Horsemen and fans accustomed to a basic one-day blowout of stakes at Kentucky Downs need to take a second look at the 2014 schedule. The track is taking advantage of accrued monies from its “historical racing” machines and will be hosting three multistakes dates at the upcoming five-day meet: Sept. 6, Sept. 13, and Sept. 24.

Kentucky Downs, the turf-only track located on the south-central border of the state, opens Sept. 6 with three stakes, including a pair for 2-year-olds and the new Dueling Grounds Derby for 3-year-olds. The biggest day is Sept. 13, when the Kentucky Turf Cup will offer a purse of $600,000, although half of that is restricted to horses eligible to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.

Kentucky Downs has been advertising its huge overnight purses, including allowance races with a minimum purse of $100,000 (half of it KTDF) and 2-year-old maiden races worth up to $90,000 (also half KTDF).

Kentucky Downs will directly conflict with Churchill on the first two Saturdays in September. The other three Kentucky Downs dates are Wednesdays (Sept. 10, 17, and 24).

Last year, Churchill ran a Saturday night card on opening weekend, which allowed jockeys to ride at Kentucky Downs that day and return by charter to ride at Churchill that evening. With Churchill opening this year with Friday night and Saturday afternoon cards, no such arrangements will be made.