Record prize money for horsemen will be distributed at Churchill Downs' 145th Spring Meet thanks to early returns from state-of-the-art historical racing machines at Derby City Gaming.
The first condition book, which covers the first half of the 38-day Spring Meet at the Louisville, Ky., track, was released Wednesday, and purses for the 189 offered races total $20.1 million – an unprecedented 46 percent increase from last spring's $13.7 million. The daily average is $1,056,842 compared to $722,579 in 2018, or $106,243 per race versus $72,640. All purses include prize money from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.
Purses for all six days of racing on Derby Week (April 27-May 4) have been supercharged. In years past, only the purses on Oaks and Derby days were boosted. Maiden special weight races will be $100,000. Allowance races will range from $103,000 to $110,000. Total purses on Oaks Day will exceed $3.6 million, and Derby Day prize money will be worth a record $6.9 million.
After Derby Week, maiden special weight races will be worth $85,000 (up from $53,000 in 2018), and allowance races will range from $87,000 to $94,000 (up from $55,000 to $61,000 in 2018). The daily prize money post-Derby Week will average $525,308 compared to $356,769 in 2018, or $55,975 per race versus $38,016 a year ago.
In a change from last year, the winner's share of the purse in all overnight races will be 56 percent (previously 60 percent) and 1.5 percent of the purse will be distributed to the sixth- through last-place finishers (previously 0.5 percent) to incentivize starts and reward owners who run their horses.
More than $30 million in total prize money – $12 million in stakes races and another $18 million in overnight races – is expected to be offered during this year's Spring Meet. Last year, total purses paid during the 372-race Spring Meet was $22.2 million.
“This is such an exciting time to be a part of Kentucky racing,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “Our investment into Derby City Gaming, which opened just five months ago, continues to pay immediate dividends to Kentucky horsemen. We have reinforced our Derby Week festival concept, solidified our lucrative stakes program and tremendously strengthened our overnight racing product. We truly believe this growth and methodology will benefit all owners, trainers and jockeys that participate at Churchill Downs and make for an extremely exciting and competitive meet.”
With 75 total racing dates in 2019, Churchill Downs will offer more racing opportunities for horsemen than any other racetrack in Kentucky and increase its purses with more than an additional $10 million as a result of handle generated by Derby City Gaming's initial year of operation. The $65-million facility opened in mid-September at nearby 4520 Poplar Level Road.
Earlier this year, Churchill Downs announced a record 34-race, $12.2 million Spring Meet stakes schedule that included a $1-million boost to the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade 1) on Saturday, May 4, making it worth a guaranteed $3 million. Also among the 15 stakes races that received significant increases were the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1), which was raised to $1.25 million, and the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1), which was doubled to $1 million.
Stall applications for the highly-anticipated Spring Meet, which will begin Saturday, April 27, and continue through Saturday, June 29, are due Friday, March 8. The stable area will reopen Tuesday, March 19 and the first scheduled day of training is Friday, March 22.
View the condition book online: https://www.churchilldowns.com/horsemen/racing/condition-book/.
2019 CHURCHILL DOWNS SPRING MEET STAKES SCHEDULE
|Saturday, April 27||5th||$125,000||William Walker (Listed)||3yo||5 F||Turf|
|Tuesday, April 30||1st||$115,000||Champions Day Marathon Overnight Stakes||3&up||1 ½ M||Dirt|
|Wednesday, May 1||26th||$125,000||Kentucky Juvenile||2yo||5 F||Dirt|
|Thursday, May 2||9th||$125,000||Unbridled Sidney||3&up f/m||5 ½ F||Turf|
|Thursday, May 2||14th||$115,000||Opening Verse Overnight Stakes||3&up||1 M||Turf|
|Friday, May 3||145th||I||$1,250,000||Longines Kentucky Oaks||3yo f||1 1/8 M||Dirt|
|Friday, May 3||34th||I||$500,000||La Troienne||4&up f/m||1 1/16 M||Dirt|
|Friday, May 3||16th||II||$400,000||Alysheba||4&up||1 1/16 M||Dirt|
|Friday, May 3||64th||II||$250,000||Eight Belles||3yo f||7 F||Dirt|
|Friday, May 3||25th||II||$250,000||Twin Spires Turf Sprint||3&up||5 ½ F||Turf|
|Friday, May 3||35th||III||$250,000||Edgewood presented by Forcht Bank||3yo f||1 1/16 M||Turf|
|Saturday, May 4||145th||I||$3,000,000||Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve||3yo||1 ¼ M||Dirt|
|Saturday, May 4||33rd||I||$1,000,000||Old Forester Turf Classic||4&up||1 1/8 M||Turf|
|Saturday, May 4||85th||I||$500,000||Churchill Downs||4&up||7 F||Dirt|
|Saturday, May 4||33rd||I||$500,000||Humana Distaff||4&up f/m||7 F||Dirt|
|Saturday, May 4||34th||II||$400,000||Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile||4&up f/m||1 M||Turf|
|Saturday, May 4||28th||II||$400,000||American Turf presented by Ram Trucks||3yo||1 1/16 M||Turf|
|Saturday, May 4||95th||III||$400,000||Pat Day Mile presented by LG&E and KU||3yo||1 M||Dirt|
|Saturday, May 11||1st||$100,000||Mamzelle Overnight Stakes||3yo f||5 F||Turf|
|Saturday, May 18||82nd||III||$100,000||Louisville||3&up||1 ½ M||Turf|
|Saturday, May 25||16th||III||$100,000||Winning Colors||3&up f/m||6 F||Dirt|
|Saturday, May 25||7th||$100,000||Keertana Overnight Stakes||3&up f/m||1 ½ M||Turf|
|Saturday, June 1||31st||$100,000||Aristides (Listed)||3&up||6 F||Dirt|
|Saturday, June 1||4th||$100,000||Mighty Beau Overnight Stakes||3&up||5 F||Turf|
|Saturday, June 8||43rd||III||$100,000||Old Forester Mint Julep||3&up f/m||1 1/16 M||Turf|
|Saturday, June 15||38th||II||$600,000||Stephen Foster||3&up||1 1/8 M||Dirt|
|Saturday, June 15||44th||II||$250,000||Fleur de Lis||3&up f/m||1 1/8 M||Dirt|
|Saturday, June 15||30th||II||$250,000||Wise Dan||3&up||1 1/16 M||Turf|
|Saturday, June 15||22nd||III||$150,000||Matt Winn||3yo||1 1/16 M||Dirt|
|Saturday, June 15||50th||III||$150,000||Regret||3yo f||1 1/8 M||Turf|
|Saturday, June 22||10th||$100,000||Roxelana Overnight Stakes||3&up f/m||6 F||Dirt|
|Saturday, June 29||118th||III||$100,000||Bashford Manor||2yo||6 F||Dirt|
|Saturday, June 29||119th||$100,000||Debutante (Listed)||2yo f||6 F||Dirt|
|Saturday, June 29||10th||$100,000||Kelly's Landing Overnight Stakes||3&up||7 F||Dirt|
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