Kentucky Downs will offer almost $15 million in purses at its six-date all-turf meet in early September. Horsemen can view all the scheduled races in the condition book now posted on Kentucky Downs' page on Equibase.com.
A record $14,903,000 will be up for grabs at Kentucky Downs, with the fastest six days in racing set to run Sept. 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 12. That includes 16 stakes worth a track-record total of $10,050,000, with $4.85 million coming from Kentucky-bred purse supplements provided through the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.
The $1 million, Grade 2 Calumet Turf Cup and $1 million, Grade 3 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint will be showcased Sept. 11 on the NBC Sports Network from 4-5 p.m. Central. The Breeders’ Cup announced today that those stakes are part of the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, presented by America’s Best Racing” television schedule for the run-up to horse racing’s world championships Nov. 5-6 at Del Mar in California. The winners of Challenge Series races earn a fees-waived spot in the corresponding Breeders’ Cup event.
The Breeders’ Cup announced on Tuesday its complete 2021 Challenge Series schedule, with the Calumet Turf Cup at 1 1/2 miles for older horses one of only two new stakes added as automatic qualifiers for horse racing’s world championships. The Calumet Turf Cup is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). The Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint, at six furlongs, for the third year will secure its winner a fees-paid spot in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).
“Earning a second ‘Win and You’re In’ race and getting both of our Challenge Series stakes on NBCSN are benchmarks in our escalating development as a national leader,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ Vice President for Racing. “A huge day for us on Sept. 11 just got even bigger. We look forward to showing off Kentucky Downs, our turf course renovations, unique atmosphere and large fields to an even broader audience.”
The Calumet Turf Cup and Turf Sprint are part of a blockbuster card featuring five graded stakes on Sept. 11, the only Saturday of the short meet.
“Circling that date and working backwards,” said Michael Hui, owner of 2019 Calumet Turf Cup winner Zulu Alpha, who finished third in last year’s running. “Every horse I own wholly or in partnership will be pointed to the entry box for the Kentucky Downs meet.”
After individual purses paid out to horse owners last year dipped amid a three-month COVID-related shutdown, maiden races in 2021 will be $125,000 (including $60,000 in Kentucky-bred money) and first-level allowance races $135,000 ($65,000 from KTDF).
The slated purses are fueled by $8,208,000 in unrestricted association money and $6,695,000 in KTDF supplements, for which the vast majority of horses racing at Kentucky Downs are eligible. Making the purses — and thousands of jobs across Kentucky — possible is the innovative technology creating Historical Horse Racing, which combines the feel of electronic gaming with the time-honored parimutuel wagering upon which horse racing is based.
The purses average out to $2,483,833 a day. That does not include $1,000 paid out to every starter who finishes sixth through last.
“I need to get more grass horses,” quipped reigning Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox, who won last year’s Calumet Turf Cup for the second time in three years with Donegal Racing’s Arklow. “Kentucky Downs has been very good to us over the past four or five years. We definitely point to that meet, not only with stakes horses but maiden and allowance races. It’s a good clean strip. Horses come off that strip in good shape. We look forward to having a presence at that meet.”
Kentucky Downs will announce its admission and reserved-seating policies for the live meet on June 1.
Kentucky Downs purses since 2011
Year (dates) purses
- 2021* (6) $14,903,000
- 2020 (6) $11,668,473
- 2019 (5) $11,520,380
- 2018 (5) $10,273,630
- 2017 (5) $8,625,396
- 2016 (5) $7,923,476
- 2015 (5) $6,609,355
- 2014 (5) $4,875,722
- 2013 (5) $4,150,687
- 2012 (5) $2,086,650
- 2011 (4) $796,810
Kentucky Downs 2021 stakes schedule
(all stakes include KTDF* purse supplements)
All races on turf
Sunday, Sept. 5 — $500,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks, 3-year-old fillies, 1 5/16 miles; $750,000 Gun Runner Dueling Grounds Derby, 3-year-olds, 1 5/16 miles.
Monday, Sept. 6 — $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies, 2-year-old fillies, mile; $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile, 2-year-olds, mile; $1 million WinStar Farm Mint Million Mile (G3), 3-year-olds & up, mile.
Wednesday, Sept. 8 — $400,000 Tapit Stakes, 3-year-olds & up non-winners of a stakes in 2021, mile and 70 yards.
Thursday, Sept. 9 — $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Sprint, 2-year-olds, 6 1/2 furlongs; $400,000 One Dreamer, fillies & mares 3 years old & up non-winners of a stakes in 2021, mile and 70 yards.
Saturday, Sept. 11 — $1 million Calumet Turf Cup (G2) "Win and You're In Breeders' Cup Turf Division," 3-year-olds & up, 1 1/2 miles; $600,000 Franklin-Simpson (G2), 3-year-olds, 6 1/2 furlongs; $600,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint (G3), fillies & mares 3yo & up, 6 1/2 furlongs; $750,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3), fillies & mares 3 years old & up, mile; $1 million Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G3) "Win and You're In Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint Division," 3-year-olds & up, 6 furlongs.
Sunday, Sept. 12 — $500,000 Music City Stakes, 3-year-old fillies, 6 1/2 furlongs; $550,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon, fillies & mares 3 years old & up, 1 5/16 miles; $500,000 Untapable Stakes, 2-year-old fillies, 6 1/2 furlongs.
*Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund
About Kentucky Downs
Located near the Kentucky and Tennessee border, just off Interstate 65 and approximately 35 miles from Nashville, Tenn., Kentucky Downs features Historical Horse Racing gaming terminals and conducts live turf racing each September on America’s only “European-style” race course while offering among the highest purses in the world. Kentucky Downs is a pioneer in modern Historical Horse Racing, the electronic form of pari-mutuel betting on horses that has become one of the great financial success stories in the sport’s history. Racing has been conducted at the facility since 1990, when it was called Dueling Grounds.
Address: 5629 Nashville Road, P.O. Box 405, Franklin, KY 42135
2021 racing dates: Sept. 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 12