Kentucky Downs boosts stakes, overnight purses for 2016

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TwinSpires Staff

April 26th, 2016

Edited Press Release

Enhancing what already is American racing's most lucrative purse program, Kentucky Downs is offering an additional $600,000-plus into its 2016 overnight races and stakes for its unique five-date, all-grass meet in September.
Kentucky Downs' 12 stakes now total just shy of $4 million, at $3.95 million, headlined by the $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) that anchors a stakes quartet worth $1.5 million on September 10. Also on that program is the $400,000 More Than Ready Mile, which received a $100,000 boost.
Total purses for all races are scheduled to average $1.56 million a day, or $7.8 million overall, up from $7.152 million paid out in 2015. Maiden special weight races increase by $10,000 to $130,000 (including Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund supplements) and allowance races will go for as much as $145,000, easily the highest in the country. Maidens born outside Kentucky still will compete for $58,000, highest in the commonwealth, while the top allowance purse for non-Kentucky-breds is a very healthy $67,000. The minimum purse is $24,000.
New for 2016 is a pair of $75,000 starter allowance races serving as launching pads to the Claiming Crown at Gulfstream Park in December. The Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes Prep and Claiming Crown Tiara Stakes Prep for fillies and mares will be held September 11 at a mile and 70 yards for horses that have raced for a claiming price of $25,000 or less since January 1, 2015.
Kentucky Downs also is contributing $1.35 million for purses at Ellis Park's summer meet.
Track president Corey Johnsen said the motivation is to help boost racing overall in the commonwealth and that Kentucky Downs is in position to take a leadership role because of the success of the track's Historical Horse Racing games.
"The overall health of the Kentucky circuit is very important to Kentucky Downs," Johnsen said. "That means keeping Kentucky-breds at home, running for big purses."
Seven stakes rise from $300,000 to $350,000 apiece. The increases all come from association money, making the base purse before Kentucky-bred supplements $150,000. The additional $200,000 is from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund for registered Kentucky-born and sired horses -- typically the majority of horses running.