Keeneland has scheduled 18 stakes races — including five Grade I races on opening weekend — with purse money totaling $4.375 million for its 2011 fall meet, the track announced Wednesday.
To honor its 75th anniversary, Keeneland will run the $125,000 Keeneland 75th Anniversary Stakes for 2-year-olds at 6 furlongs on the main track on Saturday, Oct. 15. That day's card will also include the 28th running of the Grade I, $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.
The Keeneland 75th Anniversary Stakes is a nod to the original Lexington Stakes, one of four stakes races run during the track's inaugural fall meeting. The Lexington was held for 2-year-olds going 6 furlongs from 1936-1937.
Also new this fall will be Stoll Keenon Ogden's sponsorship of the Grade III, $175,000 Phoenix, a 6-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up on opening day Friday, Oct. 7.
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The meet will end Oct. 29.
Nine graded stakes worth more than $2.8 million will highlight the FallStars Weekend and six of those stakes are part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge, a global series of automatic qualifying races for the Breeders' Cup, to be held Nov. 4-5 at Churchill Downs. Those six races are the Grade I Darley Alcibiades (Juvenile Fillies) and Phoenix Stakes (Sprint) on Oct. 7; the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile (Mile), Grade I Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (Juvenile) and Grade II Thoroughbred Club of America (Filly and Mare Sprint) on Oct. 8; and the Grade I Juddmonte Spinster (Ladies' Classic) on Oct. 9.
The Grade III Jessamine Stakes on Oct. 13 will also serve as the Breeders' Cup Challenge race for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
"Keeneland is a jewel of American racing, and we take pride in continuing its legacy of offering the highest quality racing possible," said Rogers Beasley, Keeneland's vice president of racing.