Kentucky Downs opens 5-day run with full fields & a quartet of lucrative stakes

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August 31st, 2016

Featuring low takeout and record purses, Kentucky Downs begins its popular five-day run on Saturday with a 10-race card packed with horses. A staggering 136 horses were entered for the opening-day program at the turf-only venue featuring an undulating, European-style 1 5/16-mile course. Seven races are oversubscribed and only one drew less than 12 horses (nine-horse field).

Twelve stakes totaling $3.95 million will be offered during the 2016 meet, including a quartet of $350,000 races on the opening day program: Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf, Kentucky Downs Juvenile, Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint and Juvenile Fillies.

The $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) on September 10 is the centerpiece of the lucrative stakes schedule.

Total purses are worth $7.8 million, an increase of 9% from 2015. The daily average purse distribution is $1.56 million.

Kentucky Downs is the top-ranked track by the Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) for the second straight year. The 18.25% exacta takeout is among the lowest and Kentucky Downs led all tracks by average field size in 2015 (10.6 horses).

The one-mile Ladies Turf kicks off the stakes action and the contentious field of nine distaffers includes graded stakes winners Cash Control, Mizz Money and She’s Not Here.

The Juvenile attracted 12 and stakes winners Prados Way and Raising Rumors will be making their turf debut in the 7-furlong event. Ancient Warfare is sure to attract support following a sharp 2 ½-length maiden tally on Saratoga’s turf. Parlor and Preemptive Strike will try to carry their form forward after scoring over Ellis Park’s turf.

An overflow of 13 was entered for the Turf Sprint at 6 1/2-furlongs and Group 1 hero Undrafted is a top contender. The 6-year-old gelding exits a third in the Lucky Coin at Saratoga. Lucky Coin runner-up Successful Native is also part of the main body along with 2011 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Regally Ready, who captured the 2014 More Than Ready at Kentucky Downs; and Toowindytohaulrox, who invades off a victory in the July 16 Wickerr at Del Mar.

In the 7-furlong Juvenile Fillies, Caroline Test brings high speed to the 13-horse field, leading wire to wire in her debut before finishing a commendable second versus males in the Ellis Park Juvenile. Saratoga debut turf winner Safe With Me is another logical contender.