FRANKLIN, Ky. (Friday, July 5, 2019) — The Grade 3 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint already is America’s most lucrative race for sprinters on grass outside the Breeders’ Cup championship races. Now its winner could earn an additional $1 million.
The $700,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint winner will earn a $1 million bonus if the horse goes on to capture Keeneland’s $200,000 Woodford and the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
The Grade 3 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint on Sept. 7 will be the first Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series stakes ever held at Kentucky Downs, the distinctive all-grass track on the Tennessee border. The Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint winner will earn an automatic entry fees-paid berth in the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita as part of the Challenge Series program. An added benefit is the $10,000 travel stipend if the winner is an American horse based outside of California or $40,000 for a European runner.
Kentucky Downs — which offers the highest average daily purses in North America, Europe and Hong Kong — runs Aug. 31 and Sept. 5, 7, 8 and 12. The 2019 session will be the first under the new ownership partnership headed by prominent horseman and entrepreneur Ron Winchell and well-known gaming and investment-banking executive Marc Falcone.
“The bonus was Ron Winchell’s idea,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ Senior Vice President and General Manager. “Getting our first Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ race is a very big deal. Ron wanted Kentucky Downs to do something to show how important this race is to us and our appreciation for being selected. The bonus also emphasizes and promotes Kentucky racing overall by tying it into Keeneland’s Oct. 5 Woodford and brings international attention to horse racing’s fastest growing and exciting division — turf sprinters.”
“We congratulate Kentucky Downs and its management team on the newly-created $1 million bonus for a three-race sweep,” said Dora Delgado, Breeders’ Cup Executive Vice President of Racing and Nominations. “This is a further incentive for horsemen seeking an automatic berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint by winning the Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint.”
The six-furlong Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint offers a base purse of $500,000, by itself the most lucrative prep for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in America or Europe. Horses foaled in the commonwealth and sired by a Kentucky stallion — the majority of horses running — are eligible for another $200,000 in purse money through the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.
Belmont Park’s June 8 Jaipur Stakes, won by World of Trouble, is the only other Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race in America for the turf sprint division. There also are four “Win and You’re In” races for the division in Europe and another in Japan.