Keeneland announced that it will offer 17 stakes worth a total of $4.925 million during its Fall Meet from Oct. 3-25. It will mark the debut of the track’s new dirt surface on the main track.
The $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity will be a 11⁄16-mile race for 2-year-olds on Oct. 4. The $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon, for 2-year-olds racing 1 1⁄16 miles on turf, will be run Oct. 5. The $500,000 Lane’s End Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, an invitational for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1⁄8 miles on the turf, is scheduled for Oct. 11.
The Fall Meet will open with the Fall Stars Weekend, which presents nine graded stakes worth $3.35 million over three days. Five of those races are Grade I events: the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades, for 2-year-old fillies at 11⁄16 miles on Oct. 3; the $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile, for 3-year-olds and up, the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity and the $400,000 First Lady, for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up racing 1 mile on turf, all on Oct. 4; and the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster, for older fillies and mares at 1 1⁄8 miles, on Oct. 5.
Long River seeking 1st graded stakes victory
Long River was scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Wednesday morning for Saturday’s Stephen Foster Handicap, according to his New York-based trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin.
McLaughlin said that regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr. will travel to Louisville on Saturday to ride the 4-year-old son of A.P. Indy. Long River will be seeking his first graded stakes victory.
“We’ve been pointing to this for a while because it’s an important Grade I race and he wants the mile and an eighth more than say the mile distance in the Metropolitan Handicap or the mile and a half distance in the Brooklyn Handicap,” McLaughlin said. “We’re happy to go there and in the handicap we’ve gotten some weight off of a couple of big horses like Will Take Charge who’s giving us eight pounds.”
Will Take Charge was assigned 123 pounds to Long River’s 115.
“There are several reasons for going,” McLaughlin said. “He has one of the best pedigrees in the world so if we could win a Grade I race it would be huge.”