A repositioning of the Stephen Foster to closing day and the creation of a new Stephen Foster Preview Night midway through the meet highlight a record 41-race, $14 million stakes schedule for the upcoming 38-day Spring Meet at Churchill Downs that runs April 25-June 27.

Additionally, there are seven newly-created stakes races for the action-packed, nine-week season, and 13 Spring Meet stakes staples received purse hikes that range from $25,000 to $100,000.

“It’s extremely gratifying to continue to supercharge purses through our investment into historical racing machines and watch the overall growth of the Churchill Downs and Kentucky horse racing and breeding product,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “We’ve meaningfully raised purses in the last year and the results were an extremely competitive racing product with more entries and high-quality horses that appealed to bettors nationwide. We believe this exciting new ‘big event’ series created by our racing team will help keep the momentum moving forward and be embraced around the country by both horsemen and horseplayers alike.”

The 1 1/8-mile Stephen Foster (Grade II), which annually attracts some of the nation’s top older horses, received a $100,000 boost to $700,000 and was moved back two weeks on the calendar to closing day, Saturday, June 27. The race anchors a seven-race stakes bonanza that totals $1.85 million and includes the $300,000 Fleur de Lis (GII) for fillies and mares and $300,000 Wise Dan (GII) for turf horses.

New on the blockbuster closing day lineup are two one-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds each worth $150,000, the open company War Chant (named for the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner at Churchill Downs) and Tepin (named for the Churchill Downs-based 2015-16 Champion Female Turf Horse) for fillies. The $125,000 Bashford Manor (GIII) and $125,000 Debutante (Listed) also will be run that day for 2-year-olds and 2-year-old fillies, respectively. All races that day will be run during an afternoon program with a 12:45 p.m. ET first post.

In turn, Churchill Downs has created a new Stephen Foster Preview Night on Saturday, May 30 that will feature seven stakes events cumulatively worth $975,000 in conjunction with Downs After Dark presented by Budweiser under the lights at 6 p.m. ET. The new $150,000 Blame (2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner at Churchill Downs) at 1 1/8 miles comes four weeks after $400,000 Alysheba (GII) on Kentucky Oaks Day and four weeks in advance of the repositioned Stephen Foster.

Other new stakes that night are the $150,000 Shawnee for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles; $150,000 Audubon for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf; and $100,000 Douglas Park Overnight Stakes for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on turf. The evening program also will include the $150,000 Matt Winn (GIII), $150,000 Regret (GIII) and $125,000 Aristides (Listed).

Derby Week (April 25-May 2) kicks off the 146th Spring Meet in style with 18 stakes events that total a record $10.18 million over the six-day stretch, culminating with the 146th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) at 1 ¼ miles on Saturday, May 2.

Derby Day again features seven stakes events, including four Grade I events: the Derby; $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic; $500,000 Churchill Downs and $500,000 Derby City Distaff (formerly known as the Humana Distaff). The other three Grade II events each received $100,000 increases: the $500,000 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile; $500,000 Pat Day Mile presented by LG&E and KU; and $500,000 American Turf.

One day earlier, Churchill Downs will host the Derby’s female counterpart, the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) at 1 1/8 miles – the nation’s most lucrative race for 3-year-old fillies. The six stakes that day total $3 million.

The significant increases in stakes prize money are attributed to returns from state-of-the-art historical racing machines at Derby City Gaming, Churchill Downs Incorporated’s $65 million facility that opened September 2018 at nearby 4520 Poplar Level Road. Last year’s 34-race stakes scheduled totaled more than $12 million. Two years ago, a 32-race stakes lineup was worth $8.8 million.

More than $32 million in total prize money is expected to be offered during this year’s Spring Meet. The first condition book of scheduled races is being finalized by Vice President of Racing Ben Huffman and is expected to be published in early March. Stall applications are due by Friday, March 6.

NOTE: Please open the attached pdf document for the complete stakes schedule.

New Stakes Races

$150,000 Blame for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on Saturday, May 30

$150,000 Shawnee for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday, May 30

$150,000 Audubon for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf on Saturday, May 30

$100,000 Douglas Park Overnight Stakes for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on turf on Saturday, May 30

$150,000 Limousine Liberal for 3-year-olds at six furlongs on Saturday, June 20

$150,000 War Chant for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf on Saturday, June 27

$150,000 Tepin for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf on Saturday, June 27

Repositioned Stakes Races

Matt Winn up two weeks to Saturday, May 30

Regret up two weeks to Saturday, May 30

Mighty Beau Overnight Stakes back one week to Saturday, June 6

Old Forester Mint Julep back one week to Saturday, June 13

Stephen Foster back two weeks to Saturday, June 27

Fleur de Lis back two weeks to Saturday, June 27

Wise Dan back two weeks to Saturday, June 27

Upgraded Stakes by American Graded Stakes Committee

Edgewood presented by Forcht Bank from Grade III to Grade II

Pat Day Mile presented by LG&E and KU from Grade III to Grade II

Stakes Races Increased by $100,000

$500,000 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GII) for fillies and mares at one mile on turf on Saturday, May 2

$500,000 Pat Day Mile presented by LG&E and KU (GII) for 3-year-olds at one mile on Saturday, May 2

$500,000 American Turf (GII) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday, May 2

$700,000 Stephen Foster (GII) for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on Saturday, June 27

Stakes Races Increased by $50,000

$300,000 Eight Belles presented by Smithfield (GII) for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs on Friday, May 1

$300,000 Edgewood presented by Forcht Bank (GII) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on turf on Friday, May 1

$300,000 Fleur de Lis (GII) for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday, June 27

$300,000 Wise Dan (GII) for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on turf on Saturday, June 27

Stakes Races Increased by $25,000

$150,000 William Walker (Listed) for 3-year-olds at five furlongs on turf on Saturday, April 27

$150,000 Kentucky Juvenile for 2-year-olds at five furlongs on Wednesday, April 29

$150,000 Unbridled Sidney for fillies and mares at 5 ½ furlongs on turf on “Thurby,” April 30

$125,000 Louisville (GIII) for 4-year-olds and up at 1 ½ miles on turf on Saturday, May 16

$125,000 Winning Colors (GIII) for fillies and mares at six furlongs on Saturday, May 23

Twin Spires
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