FRANKLIN, Ky. (Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022) — The seven-day FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs could have up to six races worth $1 million for registered Kentucky-breds with purse incentives added to the $750,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (Grade 3), $600,000 Franklin-Simpson (G2) and $600,000 Mint Ladies Sprint (G3).
Kentucky Downs will bump any of those purses to $1 million, including money from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF), if a Grade or Group 1 winner starts in that stakes race. The increase will match the purse structure for Kentucky Downs’ three existing $1 million races, with $550,000 in association money that every horse runs for regardless of where it was born and an additional $450,000 in KTDF supplements. To be KTDF eligible, a horse must be foaled in the commonwealth, sired by a Kentucky stallion and registered through the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders.
Kentucky Downs runs Sept. 1, 3, 4, 8, 10, 11 and 14. The Ladies Turf and Ladies Sprint for fillies and mares and the Franklin-Simpson for 3-year-olds will be run Saturday, Sept. 10. That racing extravaganza also includes the $1 million Kentucky Turf Cup (G2) and $1 million FanDuel Turf Sprint (G2). The $1 million WinStar Mint Million (G3) runs on the meet’s second day, Saturday Sept. 3.
“This is just another step as Kentucky Downs works to improve its racing program and to reward horse owners who make this great industry possible,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ Vice President for Racing. “We’ve been fortunate to receive graded designation for a number stakes in recent years, and now the objective is to get them upgraded. The ultimate goal is to get a Grade 1 designation.
“In that regard, money talks — or certainly helps. The KTDF makes it possible for us to have $1 million races for Kentucky-breds, which dominate racing. But we also want to make the base purse attractive to horsemen who have quality horses that weren’t born in the commonwealth.”
The current purse breakdown is $300,000 association and $450,000 KTDF for the mile Ladies Turf and $300,000 association and $300,000 KTDF for both the Franklin-Simpson and Ladies Sprint, both races at 6 1/2 furlongs.
“I always take a hard look at Kentucky Downs stakes. Raising those stakes to $1 million sure makes me take an even harder look,” said trainer Wesley Ward, whose 42 career wins at Kentucky Downs ranks second all-time. “The thing is, even if a horse isn’t a Kentucky-bred, it still would run for $550,000. There aren’t many stakes anywhere worth more than that.”
The potential stakes purse increases were created in agreements with the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s KTDF advisory committee.