Edited Churchill Press Release — Led by the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade 1) on Saturday, May 7, a record 53 stakes races that total $20.37 million will be staged at Churchill Downs Racetrack this spring and summer.
In addition to the 44-day Spring Meet that runs April 30-July 4, Churchill Downs will host a special one-day Arlington Million Day program on Saturday, Aug. 13, thanks to cooperation from Ellis Park, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and Kentucky horsemen.
Overall, Churchill Downs will host nine stakes races that were previously run at Arlington Park.
Arlington Million Day on Aug. 13 will feature four stakes cumulatively worth $2 million: the $1 million Arlington Million (G1); $500,000 Beverly D. (G1); $300,000 Secretariat (G2); and $200,000 Pucker Up (G3).
The other Arlington Park races to be staged at Churchill Downs during the Spring Meet are the $250,000 Modesty (G3); $200,000 Arlington (G3); $200,000 Chicago (G3); $200,000 American Derby (Listed); and $175,000 Hanshin presented by JRA (Listed).
The record-breaking $20.37 spring/summer lineup features 15 new races and significant purse boosts for 41 of the 53 stakes events. The track’s previous record was last year’s Spring Meet, which offered $13.44 million over 40 stakes races.
Derby Week (April 30-May 7) kicks off the nine-week 148th Spring Meet with 22 stakes that total a record $12.2 million over the six-day stretch that culminates with the highlight of the annual racing calendar – the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) for 3-year-olds at 1 ¼ miles.
Eight of the 14 races on Kentucky Derby Day are stakes that total $7.16 million. In addition to the Derby, the first Saturday in May will showcase the $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1); $750,000 Churchill Downs presented by Ford (GI); $750,000 Derby City Distaff presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery (G1); $500,000 Pat Day Mile presented by LG&E and KU (G2); $500,000 American Turf (G2); $160,000 Knicks Go Overnight Stakes.
One day earlier, Churchill Downs will host the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) at 1 1/8 miles – the nation’s most lucrative race for 3-year-old fillies. The seven stakes that day total $4.25 million: the Oaks; $750,000 La Troienne (G1); $500,000 Alysheba presented by Sentient Jet (G2); $500,000 Eight Belles (G2); $500,000 Edgewood presented by Forcht Bank (G2); $500,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint presented by Sysco (G2); and $250,000 Modesty (G3).
Derby Week stakes action that precedes Oaks and Derby days includes the $160,000 Roxelana Overnight Stakes on Opening Night, Saturday, April 30; $160,000 Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes on Champions Day, Tuesday, May 3; $200,000 William Walker (Listed) and $160,000 St. Matthews Overnight Stakes on Wednesday, May 4; and $200,000 Unbridled Sidney, $200,000 Kentucky Juvenile and $160,000 Opening Verse Overnight Stakes (Listed) on Thurby, Thursday, May 5.
Stephen Foster Preview Day is Saturday, June 4 with six stakes that total $1.2 million: the $200,000 Regret (G3); $200,000 Arlington (G3); $200,000 Aristides (Listed); $200,000 Blame (Listed); $200,000 Shawnee (Listed); and $200,000 Audubon.
The $750,000 Stephen Foster (G2), which annually attracts some of the nation’s top older horses, is the centerpiece of an action-packed closing weekend. The 1 1/8-mile race anchors an eight-race stakes bonanza that totals $2.33 million on Saturday, July 2, and includes the $350,000 Fleur de Lis (G2); $350,000 Wise Dan (G2); $200,000 American Derby (Listed); $200,000 Tepin; $160,000 Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes (Listed); $160,000 Anchorage Overnight Stakes; and $160,000 Maxfield Overnight Stakes.
The first condition book of scheduled races features $120,000 maiden races throughout the Spring Meet. Additionally, there will be a $250 bonus awarded to trainers whose starters finish fourth through last in all non-stakes races.
Grass racing will return to Churchill Downs for the 2022 Spring Meet over the recently-renovated turf course, which is Tahoma 31 Bermudagrass overseeded with ryegrass.
The Churchill Downs stable area reopens Tuesday, March 22. The first day of training on the track is Friday, March 25.