Keeneland

Keeneland sets schedule for richest Spring Meet ever

Irap (6) and jockey Julien Leparoux win the 93rd running of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland last April in Lexington.
Irap (6) and jockey Julien Leparoux win the 93rd running of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland last April in Lexington. aslitz@herald-leader.com

Keeneland Race Course will conduct its richest Spring Meet ever in 2018.

The track announced Thursday that a record $4.4 million in purse money will be distributed during the 16-day meet, which includes 16 stakes races.

The $4.4 million is a boost of $75,000 over last spring’s total purse of $4.325 million.

Headlining the meet, which takes place April 6-27, are eight graded stakes races on Keeneland’s opening weekend.

Keeneland’s major preps races for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks take place on April 7, the opening Saturday of the meet. The $1 million, Grade 2 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes for 3-year-olds and the $500,000, Grade 1 Central Bank Ashland Stakes for 3-year-old fillies highlight a Saturday of five graded stakes races. The Blue Grass and the Ashland are each worth 100 points to the winner under the Derby and Oaks prep-race scoring system.

Fifteen of the spring’s 16 stakes are graded events with half contested on the turf. The Appalachian Stakes, a 1-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies scheduled for April 8, was upgraded to a Grade 2 stakes for 2018 by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. Keeneland increased the purse of the Appalachian by $75,000 to $200,000 and moved the race to the first Sunday of the meet.

“Keeneland takes great pride in the strength and diversity of its racing program, and we continually elevate the opportunities to attract North America’s top horsemen,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “We know the Keeneland Spring Meet is a special event on everyone’s calendar. For that reason, we strive to offer the best racing experience possible for horsemen and fans alike.”

On April 7, NBC Sports Network will provide live coverage of the Blue Grass, along with the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and the Santa Anita Derby, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

The Blue Grass Day undercard includes the $300,000, Grade 1 Madison for older fillies and mares; the $200,000, Grade 2 Shakertown for 3-year-olds and up; and the $250,000, Grade 3 Commonwealth for older horses.

The meet’s other two Grade 1 races are the $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile on April 13 and the $350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley the following day. April 14 also includes the $200,000, Grade 3 Stonestreet Lexington Stakes, which is one of the final prep races for the Kentucky Derby.

Racing during the Spring Meet will be held Wednesday through Sunday. Gates open at 11 a.m. Post time for the first race daily is 1:05 p.m.

Keeneland 2018 Spring Meet stakes schedule

Date

Stakes

Grade

Division

Distance

April 6

$150,000 Transylvania

3

3-year-olds

1 1/16 miles (turf)

April 7

$1 million Toyota Blue Grass

2

3-year-olds

1 1/8 miles

April 7

$500,000 Central Bank Ashland

1

3-year-old fillies

1 1/16 miles

April 7

$300,000 Madison

1

Fillies and mares 4 and up

7 furlongs

April 7

$250,000 Commonwealth

3

4-year-olds and up

7 furlongs

April 7

$200,000 Shakertown

2

3-year-olds and up

5½ furlongs (turf)

April 8

$200,000 Appalachian

2

3-year-old fillies

1 mile (turf)

April 8

$150,000 Beaumont

3

3-year-old fillies

7 furlongs, 184 feet

April 13

$300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile

1

4-year-olds and up

1 mile (turf)

April 14

$350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley

1

Fillies and mares 4 and up

1 1/16 miles (turf)

April 14

$200,000 Stonestreet Lexington

3

3-year-olds

1 1/16 miles

April 14

$200,000 Ben Ali

3

4-year-olds and up

1 1/8 miles

April 14

$100,000 Giant’s Causeway

Fillies and mares 3 and up

5½ furlongs (turf)

April 20

$100,000 Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare

3

Fillies and mares 4 and up

1 1/16 miles

April 21

$250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn

2

4-year-olds and up

1½ miles (turf)

April 27

$150,000 Bewitch

3

Fillies and mares 4 and up

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