The 140th running of the $500,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (Grade I) is the main event on a schedule of 13 stakes races that carry total purses of $2.032 million set for the 25-day Fall Meet at Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”) which will be run Sunday, Oct. 26 through Sunday, Nov. 30.
The Clark Handicap, like the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), dates to the first racing meet in 1875 at the track known then as the Louisville Jockey Club, and has been run each year without interruption since its inaugural running. The 2014 Clark Handicap maintains its traditional day after Thanksgiving spot on the Churchill Downs racing calendar on Friday, Nov. 28.
The 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up is coming off of a memorable renewal in which Willis Horton’s Will Take Charge caught and passed multiple Grade I winner Game On Dude near the finish in the 2013 Clark. The narrow win completed a second-half surge that earned the D. Wayne Lukas trainee the Eclipse Award as the year’s champion 3-year-old.
The Clark is the only Grade I event on the 2014 Fall Meet stakes schedule that also features five Grade II events, three Grade III races and four overnight stakes races.
Churchill Downs will continue its traditional “Stars of Tomorrow” racing programs devoted exclusively to races for 2-year-olds that will open the meet on Sunday, Oct. 26 and help conclude the racing session on Saturday, Nov. 29. A pair of stakes events will be offered on each of those days. “Stars of Tomorrow I” on Oct. 26 will feature two $58,000-added overnight stakes in the Rags to Riches for fillies and the Street Sense, both of which will be run at the one-mile distance. The closing day “Stars of Tomorrow II” Grade II co-features are the $200,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club and its sister race for fillies, the $200,000-added Golden Rod Stakes. The 1 1/16-mile races are part of their respective “Road to the Kentucky Derby” and “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” point series that will determine participants in the respective 2015 runnings of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks on the first weekend in May.
The Kentucky Jockey Club and Golden Rod join the Clark Handicap in their regular spots on the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend that closes out the Fall Meet. Leading off that four-day holiday weekend of high-quality stakes competition is the $200,000-added Falls City Handicap (GII), a 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares ages 3-years-old and up, that again will be the racing centerpiece of the Thanksgiving Day celebration at Churchill Downs on Thursday, Nov. 27 – a local tradition since 1969.
The two other Grade II events on the 2014 Fall Meet stakes schedule are the $200,000-added Chilukki for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at one mile on Saturday, Nov. 1, and the $200,000-added Mrs. Revere for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on turf on Saturday, Nov. 15.
The Fall Meet’s Grade III races – all of which will be run over the Matt Winn Turf Course – include the $100,000-added River City Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on Saturday, Nov. 8; the $100,000-added Commonwealth Turf for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday, Nov. 15; and the $100,000-added Cardinal Handicap for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at 1 1/8 miles on Saturday, Nov. 22.
\ompleting the schedule of $58,000-added overnight stakes races are a pair of contests that will help highlight the racing programs when Churchill Downs simulcasts the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita on Friday, Oct. 31 and Saturday, Nov. 1. The Dream Supreme, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares ages 3-years-old and up, will be run on Halloween, and the Bet On Sunshine, for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs, will be the co-feature with the Chilukki on Nov. 1.
Changes in the Fall Meet stakes schedule from 2013 include:
- $50,000 purse increases for the Grade II Falls City Handicap and Chilukki;
- $25,000 purse increases for the Grade II Mrs. Revere, Kentucky Jockey Club and Golden Rod; and
- Decreases in purses for four overnight stakes races (Street Sense, Rags to Riches, Bet On Sunshine and Dream Supreme) from $65,000-added to $58,000-added.
Nomination information is available online at www.ChurchillDowns.com.