The first September racing meet in the 139-year history of Churchill Downs racetrack — 12 days of racing dubbed the “Homecoming Meet” — will feature eight stakes races with total purses of nearly $1 million.
The inaugural schedule is headed by a pair of important events for two-year-olds — the Grade 2, $150,000 Pocahontas and Grade 3, $150,000 Iroquois — and a new stakes race for older horses designed as a prep for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Grade 1, $400,000 Clark Handicap, which will be run beneath the Twin Spires in late November.
The first Homecoming Meet at Churchill Downs will open on September 6 and continue through September 29. Racing will be conducted on a Friday-through-Sunday schedule during each of its four weeks, with “Downs After Dark” night racing celebrations scheduled for two Saturdays — September 7 and 28.
The $175,000 Homecoming Classic, a 1 1/8-mile race for three-year-olds and up on the main track, is the only new event on the Homecoming Meet’s inaugural schedule of eight stakes races with total purses of $975,000. It is one of two stakes contests set for the meet’s second “Downs After Dark” program on September 28. The seven remaining events on the September meet’s stakes schedule have previously been run during either its spring or fall meets.
“Our Churchill Downs team is looking forward to the new Homecoming Meet and the opportunity to offer new racing and entertainment opportunities to fans, families, businesses and horsemen during a time of year in which the weather is usually the best our region offers,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs racetrack.
“Racing Secretary Ben Huffman has worked to fashion a schedule of compelling stakes events and an attractive roster of daily racing opportunities that provide owners and trainers with a wide range of competitive options for their horses.”
The Homecoming Meet’s opening weekend “Downs After Dark” celebration on September 7 will feature four stakes events topped by the 44th running of the Pocahontas for two-year-old fillies, and the Iroquois for juveniles set for its 32nd running. Both races are Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events and the winners of the Pocahontas and Iroquois will earn starting spots in the respective fields for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and $2 million Juvenile in early November at Santa Anita.
Both the Pocahontas and the Iroquois were transferred from the positions in the Churchill Downs fall meet to the new Homecoming session. The distance of each race has been increased from one mile to 1 1/16 miles and the purse of the Iroquois was increased by $50,000.
Other stakes events on the September 7 evening program are the 21st running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Ack Ack Handicap for three-year-olds and up at one mile and the $100,000 Locust Grove for distaffers at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. The Ack Ack, like the Pocahontas and Iroquois, was moved from its spot on the fall meet stakes schedule to the new meeting. The Locust Grove, which was previously run during the spring meet and most recently at a mile on turf, returns from a two-year absence and has been refashioned as a race on the main track.
The six-furlong, $100,000 Open Mind for fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, a race previously run during the spring meet, is scheduled to be run on September 14. The Open Mind was most recently run in 2007 and originated as a five-furlong race for three-year-old fillies on turf.
The $100,000 Dogwood, a one-mile race for sophomore fillies, will be run for the 38th time on September 21. Previously run during the spring meet, the Dogwood returns to the Churchill Downs schedule after a one-year break.
Joining the inaugural Homecoming Classic on the night racing program on September 28 will be the 37th running of the $100,000 Jefferson Cup, a Grade 3 race for three-year-olds at one mile on turf. The Jefferson Cup, run most recently in 2011 at a distance of 1 1/16 miles on grass, was a spring meet attraction in its earlier renewals.
Seating for the September 7 and 28 “Downs After Dark” celebrations and other racing programs scheduled during the first Homecoming Meet at Churchill Downs is available for purchase online at ChurchillDowns.com.
Bet 2013 Churchill Downs horse racing online with TwinSpires.com and watch it live on TwinSpiresTV!
Churchill Downs 2013 September Meeting
Race Dates: September 6 through September 29
Churchill Downs Racing Schedule: The inaugural 12-day meet will operate on a Friday-through-Sunday schedule.
Churchill Downs Racetrack Information
Main track (dirt): 1 mile oval with a 7 furlong chute
Length of stretch from last turn to finish line: 1,234.5 feet
Composition: Sandy loam, 75% sand, 23% silt, 2% clay
Width: 80 feet
Width of backstretch: 79 feet
Turf: 7/8 mile, inside main track
Composition: 90% fescue, 10% bluegrass
Width: 80 Feet
Bets available may include: Win, Place, Show, Quinella, Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Daily Double, Pick 3, and Pick 4.
CHURCHILL DOWNS SEPTEMBER MEET STAKES SCHEDULE
|9/7/2013||Iroquois (G3)||Open||2yo||1 1/16||Dirt||$150,000|
|9/7/2013||Pocahontas (G2)||Fillies||2yo||1 1/16||Dirt||$150,000|
|9/7/2013||Locust Grove||F & M||3&Up||1 1/16||Dirt||$100,000|
|9/7/2013||Ack Ack H. (G3)||Open||3&Up||Mile||Dirt||$100,000|
|9/14/2013||Open Mind||F & M||3&Up||6 furlongs||Dirt||$100,000|
|9/28/2013||Homecoming Classic||Open||3&Up||1 1/8||Dirt||$75,000|
|9/28/2013||Jefferson Cup (G3)||Open||3yo||Mile||Turf||$100,000|
About Churchill Downs Racetrack
When you think of the greatest racetracks in the world, you naturally think of Churchill Downs, home of the most famous horse race of them all – the Kentucky Derby. The first leg of the American thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown made its debut in 1875, the same year Churchill Downs opened its doors. It would be another 40 years before the Kentucky Derby would become the cornerstone of American horse racing.
Churchill Downs was in financial disarray when local Colonel Matt Winn, a local businessman and horse lover, took over operations in 1902. Winn oversaw sweeping changes that included the switch from bookmaking to pari-mutuel betting and the introduction of the $2 ticket. Five dollars was the standard before that. Winn also made sure that the filly Regent participated in the 1915 Derby, a shrewd marketing move that paid off in spades when Regent became the first filly to win the Run for the Roses.
People have been flocking to Churchill Downs ever since. This iconic facility remains one of the most beautiful and treasured in the world, holding meets every spring and fall and bringing crowds of up to 150,000 on Derby day – always the first Saturday in May. The main track is a one-mile dirt oval; there’s also a seven-furlong turf course that hosts the $500,000 Turf Classic Stakes (nine furlongs, 3-year-olds and up), a Grade 1 stakes and a can’t-miss event in its own right. Plus don’t forget the $600,000 Kentucky Oaks for fillies (nine furlongs, 3-year-olds) on the day before the Derby itself.