Churchill Downs announces 2014 spring stakes schedule

February 6, 2014 

The 2014 spring schedule of stakes races has been finalized for Churchill Downs with the 140th runnings of the $2 million Kentucky Derby and $1 million Kentucky Oaks topping the list.

The 11/4-mile Kentucky Derby will be run May 3 with the 11⁄8-mile Oaks conducted one day earlier. The meeting begins April 26 and concludes June 29. Last year's Run for the Roses was won by Florida Derby champion Orb and the Oaks was taken by Princess of Sylmar.

The top race for older Thoroughbreds will again be the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap on June 14. Fillies and mares will compete that evening in the $200,000 Fleur De Lis Handicap. Both races are 11⁄8 miles.

Reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan will have an opportunity to win a third Firecracker Stakes at Churchill on June 28 over the turf course at 1 mile. On Derby Day, the 11⁄8-mile Woodford Reserve Turf Classic will be held. Wise Dan won the race last year as well.

Changes from last year include:

■ The La Troienne, formerly a Grade II event, was elevated to Grade I status by the American Graded Stakes Committee.

■ Six races received purse increases cumulatively worth $225,000.

Three races were boosted by $50,000 — Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile ($250,000 to $300,000), American Turf ($200,000 to $250,000) and Firecracker ($150,000 to $200,000).

Three races were increased by $25,000 — Eight Belles ($150,000 to $175,000), Twin Spires Turf Sprint ($125,000 to $150,000) and Fleur de Lis Handicap ($175,000 to $200,000).

■ The Derby Trial was decreased by $25,000 from $175,000 to $150,000

■ The Firecracker is no longer a handicap

■ The Twin Spires Turf Sprint (formerly on Derby Day) has been moved to Oaks Day

■ The American Turf (formerly on Oaks Day) has been moved to Derby Day.

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