The 2014 Kentucky Downs live all-turf racing season will feature record purses in excess of $1 million per card for each of its five days. September 6 is opening day at the Franklin, Kentucky, racetrack, with full cards set for September 10, 13, 17 and 24.
“More than $1 million in daily purse structure will make 2014 a breakout year for Kentucky Downs,” Kentucky Downs President Corey Johnsen said. “I believe that record purse money combined with a world class turf course will attract many of North America’s horses, jockeys and trainers. We have also slightly modified our stakes schedule to mirror many of the distances in this year’s Breeders’ Cup.”
The signature event of the track’s 23rd meet is the Grade 3, $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup, up from $400,000 in 2013. The 1 1/2-mile stakes anchors an exceptional Kentucky Downs Million Day on September 13. The four stakes on Million Day have been modified to parallel key events at the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
The opening day card will feature three stakes, including the inaugural running of the $250,000 Dueling Grounds Derby for three-year-olds at a distance of 1 5/16 miles. The stakes is named in honor of the racetrack’s original moniker, which was renamed as Kentucky Downs in 2007. The 10-race card has drawn an average of 11 starters per race, ensuring an abundance of great betting opportunities.
The meet will wrap on September 24. The closing day program will include the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash and $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon.
All races and stakes have received significant increases due to the matching funds support from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF). The $150,000 stakes races run in 2013 are now $200,000; each allowance race will offer $100,000; and purses of $90,000 will be offered for two-year-old maiden special weight events.
This is the second year that Kentucky Downs has boosted purses, due in large part, from pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse races.
Tyler Picklesimer will serve as racing secretary at Kentucky Downs, and has posted the 2014 condition book onKentuckyDowns.com.
“Kentucky Downs has enjoyed the support of top horsemen for many years,” Picklesimer said. “Not only are the purses exceptional, but our turf course is in great shape. Horses come out of their races in top condition as evidenced by the large number who won at the 2013 Keeneland meeting.”
KENTUCKY DOWNS 2014 STAKES SCHEDULE
Saturday, September 6
- 3rd running of the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile, 2yo, 7 furlongs
- 3rd running of the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies, 2yo fillies, 7 furlongs
- Inaugural running of the $250,000 Dueling Grounds Derby, 3yo, 1 5/16 miles
Saturday, September 13
- 2nd running of the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint, 2yo, 6 1/2 furlongs
- 21st running of the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf, 3&up, f&m, 1 mile
- 17th running of the $200,000 Franklin-Simpson Mile, 3&up, 1 mile
- 23rd running of the Grade 3, $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup, 3&up, 1 1/2 miles
Wednesday, September 24
- 16th running of the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash, 3&up, 6 1/2 furlongs
- 3rd running of the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon, 3&up, f&m, 1 5/16 miles
About Kentucky Downs
Located near the Kentucky – Tennessee border on Interstate 65 and 35 miles north of Nashville, Kentucky Downs is a year round entertainment center that offers live racing in September, simulcasting seven days a week, pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse races, charitable gaming, dining and other events. Horses compete on the unique 1 5/16-mile European style turf course, which features subtle elevation changes, a sweeping turn into the stretch run and a quarter-mile run from the end of the final turn to the finish line.
The Turf Cup is the main event of the Kentucky Cup Turf Festival, which kicks off the track’s brief racing session in September. This race was first held as the Sam Houston Stakes in 1991; Sam Houston, then a state representative and the former governor of Tennessee, fought and won a duel on these grounds in 1832 before moving south and leading the Texas Revolution.