Edited Press Release
Keeneland on Wednesday a $4.225 million stakes schedule for its 2016 Spring Meet that offers 16 stakes, led by the $1 million Blue Grass (G1), the $500,000 Ashland (G1), the $350,000 Jenny Wiley (G1), which carries a purse increase of $50,000, and the $200,000 Shakertown (G2), upgraded for this year and with a purse increase of $75,000.
The 16-day Spring Meet, to be held April 8-29, will offer racing Wednesdays through Sundays.
“This stakes schedule reflects the top quality of the Thoroughbreds who race here in April and the importance of Keeneland’s races as early season targets of the sport’s best horses and horsemen,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing W.B. Rogers Beasley said. “The success of the recent Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland heightened enthusiasm for racing here and introduced many horsemen to our world-class facilities and lucrative racing program.”
The Spring Meet opens April 8, with the $100,000 Transylvania (G3), a 1 1/16-mile race for three-year-olds on turf.
For the second consecutive year, Keeneland’s premier three-year-old races, the Blue Grass and Ashland, lead five stakes run on opening Saturday of the Spring Meet. Featured on the undercard are the $300,000 Madison (G1), for fillies and mares going seven furlongs; $250,000 Commonwealth (G3), for older horses at seven furlongs; and the Shakertown, for three-year-olds and older at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf.
The Blue Grass, for three-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles, and the Ashland, for three-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles, are worth 100 points each to the winners on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Road to the Kentucky Oaks, respectively. Last year’s Ashland winner, Lovely Maria, went on to win the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Stakes action during the Spring Meet’s second week begins with the $125,000 Appalachian (G3), moved to April 14, and held three days earlier than in prior years. The Appalachian is a one-mile race on the turf for three-year-old fillies.
The following day, older horses will compete in the $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1), one of the sport’s key turf stakes early in the year.
Anchoring the second Saturday of racing, April 16, is the Jenny Wiley, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares on the turf. The day also includes the $200,000 Ben Ali (G3) for older horses racing 1 1/8 miles for a purse that was increased $50,000; the $150,000 Lexington (G3), a 1 1/16-mile race that offers three-year-olds points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby; and the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway, a 5 1/2-furlong turf race for fillies and mares.
The second weekend of the Spring Meet concludes April 17 with the $150,000 Beaumont (G3) for three-year-old fillies over the Beard Course distance of 7 furlongs and 184 feet.
Older horses are featured in stakes competition during the final days of the Spring Meet. Keeneland hosts the $100,000 Doubledogdare (G3) for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on April 22; $250,000 Elkhorn (G2) at 1 1/2 miles on the turf on April 23; and $150,000 Bewitch (G3) for fillies and mares racing 1 1/2 miles on the turf on closing day, April 24.
Gates open each day at 11 a.m. (EDT). Post time for the first race is 1:05 p.m.