Kentucky Downs Raises the Stakes: Unveiling Unprecedented Purses and Exciting Races

Kentucky Downs Breaks Records with Expanded Stakes and Richest Maiden Races

Kentucky Downs Announces 2022 Schedule with Record Purses

Kentucky Downs, known for its boutique meets, has recently unveiled its highly anticipated 2022 schedule. This year’s meet promises to be bigger and better than ever before, featuring a plethora of exciting races with record-breaking purses. Horse racing enthusiasts and professionals are sure to be captivated by the expanded stakes and the opportunity to compete in the richest maiden races on the planet.

Expanded Schedule and Unprecedented Purses

The seven-day meet is scheduled to take place on September 1, 3, 4, 8, 10, 11, and 14, showcasing the unique all-turf, kidney-shaped track that sets Kentucky Downs apart. A remarkable total of 17 stakes races will be offered, boasting an impressive combined purse of $10.7 million. Moreover, the total purses for the meet will reach record-breaking heights, amounting to a staggering $17.95 million. This increase in funds enables Kentucky Downs to offer an extraordinary opportunity for thoroughbreds in the form of 26 maiden races, each featuring a record-setting $150,000 purse.

Richest Maiden Purses Globally

The maiden races at Kentucky Downs stand out as the most lucrative in the world. Due to the overwhelming demand and popularity of these races, the track officials have expanded the offering to 26 races from the previous year’s 16. This expansion has become possible by adding an additional seventh day of racing to the meet. Of these 26 maiden races, an impressive 15 are exclusively dedicated to 2-year-olds. Notably, the maiden fields from the previous year averaged almost 11 starters per race, indicating the high level of competition and the depth of talent showcased at Kentucky Downs.

Unparalleled Opportunities

Ted Nicholson, the Vice President for Racing at Kentucky Downs, expressed his excitement regarding the extended opportunities for horsemen. He remarked, “Given the immense popularity of our maiden races, and with an extra day, we’ve expanded the opportunities to compete for the most lucrative purses in the world.” Winning a maiden race at Kentucky Downs is akin to hitting a home run at the beginning of a ballgame, providing owners with an instant boost of confidence and financial success. Notably, many horses that have triumphed in these maiden races have gone on to achieve remarkable accomplishments in the sport.

Success Stories at Kentucky Downs

One such success story is that of California Angel, a filly trained by George Leonard. California Angel emerged victorious in a $135,000 maiden race at Kentucky Downs last year, propelling her onto a path of greatness. Following her win, she went on to secure a Grade 2 victory at the Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland. California Angel’s journey culminated in a thrilling run at the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. The financial boost gleaned from winning a maiden race at Kentucky Downs played a vital role in supporting her remarkable trajectory.

Enhanced Purses and Supportive Measures

Kentucky Downs goes beyond offering generous purses for maiden races. The track demonstrates its commitment to the racing community by providing enhanced financial support for other race categories as well. First-level allowance runners bred in Kentucky compete for a remarkable $160,000 purse, while second-level allowance runners are vying for a substantial $170,000 prize. Additionally, starters finishing sixth through last place in non-stakes races are guaranteed a monetary reward of $1,000. This acknowledgment of the expenses associated with running horses underscores Kentucky Downs’ commitment to supporting owners and trainers in their racing endeavors.

Exciting Stakes Races

In addition to the maiden races and other monetary incentives, Kentucky Downs offers an array of thrilling stakes races. Among the 17 stakes races, eight have achieved graded status, further solidifying the meet’s status on the racing calendar. Two of these graded races, the Kentucky Turf Cup and the Turf Sprint, serve as Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races for the Turf and Turf Sprint, respectively. The Grade 3 Ladies Turf and the Grade 3 Million, set to take place on September 10 and September 3, respectively, each offer an impressive $1 million purse, elevating the level of competition and attracting top-quality contenders.

Introduction of HHR Machines

This year’s stakes schedule includes an exciting addition, the $400,000 Gun Runner race. This mile-long race, scheduled for September 14, is specifically designed for 3-year-olds, promising unparalleled excitement and determining which emerging talents will shine on the coveted Kentucky Downs track.

Historic Horse Racing Boosts Purses

The unprecedented increase in purse sizes can be attributed to the infusion of funds from Historic Horse Racing (HHR). Over the years, HHR has played a pivotal role in supporting and revitalizing Kentucky’s horse racing industry. The substantial growth from a four-day meet with $769,810 in purses to the current seven-day meet featuring 74 races and a staggering $17.95 million purse serves as a testament to the positive impact of HHR on the sport.


Kentucky Downs’ 2022 meet promises to be a spectacle of exhilarating racing, unprecedented purses, and unparalleled opportunities for owners, trainers, and jockeys. With its expanded schedule, record-breaking maiden races, and notable stakes races, Kentucky Downs continues to cement its position as a premier destination for the racing community. The infusion of funds from Historic Horse Racing further enhances the meet, supporting the growth and sustainability of the horse racing industry in Kentucky.


1. How many days is the Kentucky Downs meet scheduled for?

Kentucky Downs’ meet for 2022 will span over seven action-packed days, providing ample opportunities for horses, trainers, and jockeys to excel.

2. What makes the maiden races at Kentucky Downs so unique?

The maiden races at Kentucky Downs offer the richest purses in the world, presenting an extraordinary opportunity for owners to compete for substantial financial rewards right from the beginning of their horse’s career.

3. How has winning a maiden race at Kentucky Downs propelled horses to greater success?

Numerous horses that have triumphed in maiden races at Kentucky Downs have gone on to achieve impressive victories in prestigious graded stakes races, demonstrating the significance of a successful start at this renowned track.

4. Are there monetary incentives for horses that do not finish in the top positions?

Kentucky Downs acknowledges the expenses associated with participating in races by guaranteeing a reward of $1,000 for starters finishing sixth through last place in non-stakes races.

5. How has Historic Horse Racing contributed to the growth of the sport in Kentucky?

Historic Horse Racing has injected significant funds into the horse racing industry in Kentucky, as evidenced by the substantial increase in purses, supporting the development and sustainability of the sport.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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