Keeneland Sets a New Standard: Unprecedented $8.75 Million in Stakes Purses for Fall Meet

Keeneland Fall Meet: A Record-Breaking Stakes Extravaganza

Keeneland recently announced an astounding achievement, setting a new record for stakes purses during its Oct. 7-29 Fall Meet. The total amount reached an impressive $8.75 million. As icing on the cake, this meet includes nine Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series events, making it a highly anticipated gathering for horse racing enthusiasts. With this remarkable feat, Keeneland establishes its position as a leading destination for top-tier racing.

Unmatched Stakes Purses

The $8.75 million in stakes purses surpasses the previous Fall Meet record of $7.7 million, which was set during the 22-day Spring Meet earlier this year. Such a substantial increase in purses has garnered widespread attention from horseplayers, resulting in a record-breaking $219 million in all-sources handle. This only adds to the excitement and anticipation surrounding the Fall Meet at Keeneland.

A Multitude of Stakes Races

Keeneland’s Fall Meet features a lineup of 22 stakes races, with a particular highlight being the inclusion of nine Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series events. These races serve as a gateway for contenders aiming to secure a spot in the prestigious Breeders’ Cup, which Keeneland will host for the third time overall and the second time in three years on Nov. 4-5. The Fall Meet opens with 11 stakes, including the much-anticipated Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races, creating a thrilling atmosphere right from the start.

Enhanced Racing Experience

Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin expressed the track’s commitment to providing an exceptional Fall Meet experience. With adjustments made to the season last year, Keeneland increased the number of stakes races to 22, ensuring a diverse and captivating racing program. Additionally, multiple stakes races are scheduled on six of the meet’s 17 days, adding further excitement for both horsemen and fans. These enhancements proved to be immensely successful during the previous meet and are expected to deliver an equally thrilling experience this time.

Key Stakes Races at Keeneland

1. Coolmore Turf Mile – A Gateway to the Breeders’ Cup Mile

The Fall Meet kicks off with the $1 million Grade 1 Coolmore Turf Mile, the richest race of the meet. This prestigious race not only offers a substantial purse but also provides the winner with an all-expense-paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Mile. As one of the three Grade 1 races scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8, the Coolmore Turf Mile promises to showcase the incredible talent of turf milers and serve as a stepping stone to the pinnacle of the Breeders’ Cup.

2. Breeders’ Futurity and First Lady – Glimpses of Future Stars

On the same day, Keeneland presents two additional Grade 1 races: the Breeders’ Futurity and the First Lady. The Breeders’ Futurity offers a fascinating view of potential contenders for the 2023 Kentucky Derby, while the First Lady showcases the skills of talented fillies and mares on the turf. Both races hold significant weight, as the winners earn coveted berths in the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, respectively.

3. Alcibiades, Ogden Phoenix, and Jessamine – A Spectacular Opener

The excitement of Keeneland’s Fall Meet begins on Friday, Oct. 7, with three captivating Challenge Series stakes races. These races serve as a thrilling prelude, featuring the Grade 1 Alcibiades for juvenile fillies, the Grade 2 Ogden Phoenix for sprinters, and the Grade 2 Jessamine for juvenile fillies on the turf. Notably, the Jessamine has been moved to opening day, strategically positioned four weeks before the Breeders’ Cup to create anticipation and intrigue among bettors.

4. Spinster, Bourbon, and Indian Summer – A Weekend Enriched with Stakes Races

The following weekend at Keeneland is nothing short of spectacular, with three more Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series stakes races on Sunday, Oct. 9. Fans will be treated to the Grade 1 Spinster, a race for fillies and mares, the Grade 2 Bourbon for promising juvenile turf contenders, and the thrilling Listed Indian Summer, a race specifically designed for juvenile turf sprinters. This weekend further amplifies the Fall Meet’s reputation as a must-attend event for racing enthusiasts.

5. Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup – A Royal Celebration of Racing

The sixth and final Grade 1 race of the Fall Meet is the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, held on Sunday, Oct. 15. This remarkable race celebrates the indelible connection between royalty and thoroughbred racing. The winning owner of this prestigious event will be awarded a specially designed strawberry dish produced by Garrad, the Royal Jeweler. This dish commemorates the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and her profound impact on the world of horse racing.


Keeneland’s Fall Meet promises an unforgettable experience for racing enthusiasts, with an exceptional lineup of stakes races and record-breaking purses. The track’s commitment to delivering a thrilling racing atmosphere is evident in its strategic planning, increased number of stakes races, and enhanced meet schedule. Horseplayers and fans alike can expect nothing short of extraordinary performances from some of the finest equine athletes in the world. Make sure to mark your calendars for this iconic event on the horse racing calendar.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does the Coolmore Turf Mile contribute to the Breeders’ Cup?

The Coolmore Turf Mile offers its winner a guaranteed berth into the Breeders’ Cup Mile. This prestigious race serves as a stepping stone for turf milers, showcasing their talent and providing an opportunity to compete on the grand stage of the Breeders’ Cup.

2. What makes Keeneland’s Fall Meet special?

Keeneland’s Fall Meet is special due to its record-breaking stakes purses and the inclusion of nine Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races. The Fall Meet sets the stage for the highly anticipated Breeders’ Cup, attracting top-level horses and generating immense excitement among horse racing enthusiasts.

3. Why did Keeneland move the Jessamine stakes to opening day?

Keeneland strategically moved the Jessamine stakes to opening day to align it precisely four weeks before the Breeders’ Cup. This ensures that bettors can include the Jessamine in Keeneland’s Turf Pick 3 and builds anticipation for the key Breeders’ Cup races.

4. Which race pays homage to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee?

The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, held on Sunday, Oct. 15, commemorates the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and her significant impact on the world of Thoroughbred racing. The winning owner of this race will be honored with a specially designed strawberry dish produced by Garrad, the Royal Jeweler.

5. What can fans and horsemen expect from Keeneland’s Fall Meet?

Keeneland’s Fall Meet promises exceptional racing opportunities, highlighted by top-tier stakes races and increased purses. It is designed to offer an engaging and thrilling experience for both horsemen and fans, setting the stage for unforgettable performances from the finest equine athletes.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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