Keeneland’s 2022 Spring Meet: Record Purses and Exciting Races
Keeneland, located in Lexington, Kentucky, is gearing up for an incredible 2022 Spring Meet. With a focus on enhancing the stakes races, the track has announced a record $7.7 million in purses for the 19 stakes races scheduled. This includes notable increases to two of the flagship 3-year-old races, the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes and the Grade 1 Ashland for 3-year-old fillies.
Purse Bumps and Highlights
In an exciting development, the Blue Grass Stakes will see its purse restored to $1 million, returning to its seven-figure glory from 2015-2019. Last year’s contenders ran for $800,000, but now they have a chance to compete for an even larger purse. Over the years, the Blue Grass Stakes has been a significant race in the lead-up to the Kentucky Derby.
Another race garnering attention is the Ashland, which has been moved to the opening day of the meet. This historic Grade 1 event, known as one of the top Kentucky Oaks prep races, will now offer a record purse of $600,000. By scheduling the Ashland on opening day, Keeneland aims to make it the first Grade 1 race of the year, setting the stage for an exciting racing season.
Opening Weekend Spectacle
Keeneland is leaving no stone unturned to make the opening weekend of the Spring Meet truly special. With a total of 10 stakes worth $4.55 million, the track aims to attract the best sophomores in the country. On Saturday, April 9, racing enthusiasts can look forward to a thrilling lineup, including the Blue Grass Stakes and the Grade 1 Madison for fillies and mares going seven furlongs.
The Blue Grass Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile race, holds immense significance as Keeneland’s flagship Derby prep. Not only does it offer a purse of $1 million, but it also provides precious Derby qualifying points (100-40-20-10) to the top finishers. The Grade 1 Madison, on the other hand, showcases top-class female sprinters competing over a distance of seven furlongs.
Multiple-Stakes Days and Purse Doublings
Keeneland’s Spring Meet spans 15 days and features a total of 19 stakes races, with 10 held on turf and nine on dirt. Apart from the exciting opening weekend, the track has scheduled five other multiple-stakes days throughout the meet to keep the adrenaline pumping for racing fans.
In addition to raising the purses for all stakes races, Keeneland has doubled the purses for some prominent events. The Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile will now offer an impressive $600,000, up from $300,000. The Grade 3 Lexington, another significant race on the Derby trail, has seen its purse increase from $200,000 to $400,000. Similarly, the Grade 3 Ben Ali’s purse has doubled from $150,000 to $300,000.
Celebrating Excellence in Thoroughbred Racing
Keeneland’s commitment to showcasing the best in Thoroughbred racing is further evident with the inclusion of Grade 1 races throughout the meet. In addition to the Ashland and Maker’s Mark Mile, the Jenny Wiley is another prestigious Grade 1 event on the turf. This 1 1/16-mile race is open to fillies and mares and offers a purse of $500,000.
Notably, Keeneland is not just focused on its Spring Meet; it has big plans for the future. The track will host the Breeders’ Cup for the second time in three years and the third time overall, solidifying its status as one of the premier racetracks in the United States.
The 2022 Keeneland Spring Meet promises to be an exhilarating showcase of Thoroughbred racing excellence. With record purses and enhancements to esteemed races like the Blue Grass Stakes and Ashland, Keeneland aims to attract top horses and provide an unforgettable experience for racing enthusiasts. As the meet unfolds, we can expect thrilling finishes, emerging stars, and the unmistakable spirit of competition that defines Keeneland.
1. Do all the stakes races at Keeneland have increased purses for the 2022 Spring Meet?
Yes, all stakes races at Keeneland have received purse increases for the 2022 Spring Meet. The track has focused on elevating the stakes races to attract top horses and showcase the best talent in the country.
2. Which races are considered major Kentucky Derby prep races during the Keeneland Spring Meet?
The Blue Grass Stakes and the Lexington are both significant Kentucky Derby prep races held during the Keeneland Spring Meet. These races offer valuable Derby qualifying points, making them crucial stepping stones for horses aiming to compete in the prestigious Kentucky Derby.
3. How many Grade 1 races are scheduled during the Keeneland Spring Meet?
The Keeneland Spring Meet features four Grade 1 races. These include the Ashland Oaks, Maker’s Mark Mile, Jenny Wiley, and Madison Stakes. These races attract top-level competition and are a testament to Keeneland’s dedication to showcasing excellence in Thoroughbred racing.
4. What is the significance of the Blue Grass Stakes in the racing world?
The Blue Grass Stakes holds immense significance in the racing world as it serves as a premier Derby prep race. With a restored $1 million purse and offering Derby qualifying points, it attracts top-class 3-year-olds aiming for a spot in the Kentucky Derby. Many past winners have gone on to achieve success in the Derby and other major races.
5. How does Keeneland continue to elevate its racing program?
Keeneland is committed to continuously elevating its racing program by reinvesting in purse money. By offering record purses, attracting top horses, and hosting prestigious events like the Breeders’ Cup, Keeneland solidifies its position as one of the premier racetracks in the country.