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September 13, 2014

Kentucky Downs Has Record Day As Suntracer Wins Grade III Kentucky Turf Cup

Track sets all-time wagering handle record of $4,253,567

(Franklin, KY)– Highlighted by four stakes races that offered combined purse money of $1.2 million (including KTDF funds), Kentucky Downs had its biggest day of racing in the track’s history, as all-sources wagering handle on the track’s 10 live races was a record $4,253,567. That amount shattered the previous wagering record of $3,371,476 for the track, a mark that was set on a 13-race live card back on September 25, 2013.

In Saturday’s featured Grade III Kentucky Turf Cup Suntracer broke through with a brilliant performance holding off the late challenge from Pyrite Mountain to take the victory by a nose. Betting favorite War Dancer finished third and O’Prado Ole was fourth.

Bred and owned by Team Block and trained by Chris Block, Suntracer had not visited the winner’s circle since October 2012, although the six-year-old son of industry leading sire Kitten’s Joy had been hitting the board in graded stakes company at his home base of Arlington Park in Chicago, as well as Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Gulfstream Park and Calder.

Suntracer was ridden masterfully in the Kentucky Turf Cup (GR. III) by French-born jockey Florent Geroux. He had Suntracer placed far back in the pack in the race’s early going, but made a winning move on Kentucky Downs’s sweeping turn for home, took the lead in mid-stretch, and held off another closer, Pyrite Mountain for the photo finish victory. With the victory in Kentucky Downs’ richest race, Suntracer boosted his career earnings to over $795,000.

The winning time for the 1 ½ miles was 2:27.12, and Suntracer rewarded his backers with a $17.40 payoff on a $2 win wager.

“We love this racetrack,” said David Block of the Illinois-based winning owner/breeder team of Team Block. “People from Illinois should look down here and see what’s going on. We also won this race two years ago as well with Iaya Bigtime.

“Our biggest concern was it seemed like everything today was being won by front runners,” Block continued, “but we decided to come from off the pace, and we’re glad it worked.”

A trio of additional stakes, each with $200,000 in purse money, were also on the Saturday Kentucky Downs card. Even money favorite Regally Ready was a convincing 2 1/4 length winner in the $200,000 More than Ready Mile. It was a fitting victory for the seven-year-old Regally Ready, a gelded son of the WinStar Farm stallion More Than Ready, for whom the race is named. Ridden by Rosie Napravnik for trainer Steve Asmussen and owners Vinery Stables, LLC, Regally Ready was notching his 15th career victory, and he now has lifetime earnings of over $1.6 million.

In the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint, the three-year-old filly Richie’s Party Girl won the 6 ½ furlong race in a rapid 1:16.51 under jockey Rafael Hernandez. Trained by Wesley Ward and co-owned by Ward along with Richard Ravin, Richie’s Party Girl was sent off as the 4-1 betting favorite in the field of 10 and boosted her lifetime bankroll to over $330,000 with her 1 ¼ length win in the Ladies Sprint. She is a daughter of Any Given Saturday out of the Majestic Light daughter Very Special Lite.

I’m Already Sexy was a convincing front-running victor in the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf, covering the one mile distance in 1:35.25. Florent Geroux was aboard the four-year-old daughter of Ready’s Image for Arlington Park-based trainer Wayne Catalano and owner Hit The Board Stables.

This year’s remaining Kentucky Downs live racing dates are September 17 and 24. Purses for this year’s live meet average over $1,000,000 per race day. Kentucky Downs features a one-of-a-kind European-style turf course that offers a fair test to horses at all levels of competition. The Kentucky Downs race course is among the longest courses in North America at 1.3125 (1 5/16) miles in length. With subtle elevation changes throughout the course, a sweeping turn into the stretch run and a quarter-mile run from the end of the final turn to the finish line, racing at Kentucky Downs is unlike any racing seen this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Highlights of each remaining live racing day include:
Wednesday, September 17 (Ladies Day)

  • Benefiting Horses & Hope and Old Friends Farm
  • Ladies Hat Contest
  • Autograph session (12 – 1 p.m.) for fans with Rosie Napravnik – the nation’s leading female jockey. ($10 requested donation to benefit Old Friends Farm).

Wednesday, September 24 (Closing Day)
Stakes Races:

  • The Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon $200,000
  • The Kentucky Downs Turf Dash $200,000
  • Autograph session (12 – 2 p.m.) for fans with Hall of Fame jockey Ron Turcotte, the rider of Triple Crown winner Secretariat. ($10 requested donation to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund).


Kentucky Downs is located at 5629 Nashville Road in Franklin, Kentucky, approximately 45 minutes northeast of Nashville, Tennessee. For more information, call (270) 586-7778


September 10, 2014

Kentucky Downs Hosts Hall of Fame Jockeys And Napravnik Has Hall of Fame Day

(Franklin, KY) – Kentucky Downs hosted its second annual Hall of Fame Jockeys’ Day on Wednesday, as Hall of Famers Calvin Borel, Pat Day, Chris McCarron, Laffit Pincay, Jr. and Randy Romero came together for an autograph signing before the races to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund (PDJF). Additionally, Hall of Fame Trainer Jack Van Berg was on hand, signing autographs and copies of his new book: “Jack, From Grit to Glory.”

“It is truly an honor to host these Hall of Famers at Kentucky Downs,” track President Corey Johnsen said. “They have given so much to our great sport, and it is indeed a privilege to work with them and the Jockeys’ Guild to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund.”

During the 10 live race card, the day belonged to potential future Hall of Famers Rosie Napravnik and Julien Leparoux. Napravnik guided home four winners, while Leparoux was aboard an additional three. Napravnik’s wins came in race #2 (Holiday Drama), race #3 (Catalactic), race #6 (First Romance) and race #10 (Ventoux). Leparoux rode winners in race #1 (Expecting Cash), race #5 (Cool Comfort) and race #7 (Aripeka).

Hall of Famer Calvin Borel came home first aboard Shake Up in the fourth race, marking his 38th career win at Kentucky Downs, tying him for first-place with Larry Melancon in all-time wins at the track.

Additionally on Wednesday, Kentucky Downs hosted a $15,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Qualifier handicapping contest, with the winner earning a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, slated for October 31 and November 1, 2014 at Santa Anita Park.

This year’s remaining Kentucky Downs live racing dates are September 13, 17 and 24. Purses for this year’s live meet average over $1,000,000 per race day. Kentucky Downs features a one-of-a-kind European-style turf course that offers a fair test to horses at all levels of competition. The Kentucky Downs race course is among the longest courses in North America at 1.3125 (1 5/16) miles in length. With subtle elevation changes throughout the course, a sweeping turn into the stretch run and a quarter-mile run from the end of the final turn to the finish line, racing at Kentucky Downs is unlike any racing seen this side of the Atlantic Ocean.


September 8, 2014

Hall of Fame Jockeys Will Be in the Spotlight on Wednesday at Kentucky Downs

(Franklin, KY) – Six of Thoroughbred racing’s all-time greatest jockeys will be in attendance this Wednesday at Kentucky Downs, greeting fans and signing autographs in a fundraising event for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund (PDJF).

Participating in the festivities are Hall of Famers Calvin Borel, Pat Day, Chris McCarron, Laffit Pincay, Jr., Edgar Prado and Randy Romero. Additionally, Hall of Fame Trainer Jack Van Berg will also be on hand, signing autographs and copies of his new book: “Jack, From Grit to Glory.”

All of these Thoroughbred racing living legends will be signing autographs from 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. near the Kentucky Downs winners’ circle. Trading cards for each jockey will be provided to fans, and a $10 donation to the PDJF (for all autographs) is requested.

“It is truly an honor to host these Hall of Famers at Kentucky Downs,” track President Corey Johnsen said. “They have given so much to our great sport, and it is indeed a privilege to work with them and the Jockeys’ Guild to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund.”

Collectively, the Hall of Fame riders in attendance have won an astounding 41,582 races (including eight editions of the Kentucky Derby) and captured over $1.25 billion in purse money. Van Berg ranks as the fifth winningest trainer of all-time, having saddled 6,426 winners to date, and he is best known as the trainer of Alysheba, the winner of the 1987 Kentucky Derby and the 1988 Horse of the Year. (Alysheba was ridden throughout his storied career by Chris McCarron).

The first live race on the 10-race September 10 card is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. (CST). The featured ninth race will go off at 5:35 p.m. (CST) with a full field of 12 fillies & mares going 1 mile 70 yards on the turf for a $102,000 purse.

Also on Wednesday, Kentucky Downs will host a $15,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Qualifier handicapping contest. The winner of the contest will earn a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, slated for October 31 and November 1, 2014 at Santa Anita Park. Compete information can be found at http://www.kentuckydowns.com/live-racing/handicapping-contest/.


August 28, 2014

Kentucky Downs to Host Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Qualifier on Wednesday, September 10

Winning Handicapper to Earn a Berth into the Breeders’ Cup Challenge at Santa Anita

Franklin, KY (August 28, 2014) – Kentucky Downs is preparing for its rich five-day all turf racing season which gets underway on Saturday, September 6. Lucrative rewards are in store, and not just for horsemen. Handicappers are invited to enter the $15,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifying handicapping tournament on Wednesday, September 10.

“Kentucky Downs wants to be known as the Horseplayers’ Racetrack, so we have improved our handicapping contest this season,” said Corey Johnsen, president of Kentucky Downs. “First of all, we have increased the prize money. The date of the contest this year coincides with our popular Hall of Fame Day and we hope that our handicappers also participate in the VIP dinner and golf tournament. Combine that with America’s lowest overall takeout, quality racing and full fields, I would participate if I was eligible.”

This is the seventh year that Kentucky Downs has offered this handicapping contest where participants must make a win/place selection on each of the ten live races on the September 10 card at Kentucky Downs. The fee is $100 per entry with top contestants competing for cash rewards and the grand prize of an entry seat to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge at Santa Anita, October 31- November 1.

The Grand Prize: The top handicapper from Kentucky Downs contest on September 10 receives an entry seat to the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, to be held during the Breeders’ Cup October 31 – November 1 at Santa Anita.(An entry seat in the event is a $10,000 value). In addition, the Grand Prize winner also receives:

  • $400 travel voucher
  • Deluxe accommodations for (3) nights
  • Complimentary clubhouse seat for the Breeders’ Cup Championships October 31 -November 1
  • Complimentary ticket on the clubhouse apron for (1) guest
  • Two tickets to the Breeders’ Cup VIP party at Santa Anita

If the winner of the September10th handicapping contest at Kentucky Downs cannot attend the Breeders’ Cup Championships, he or she may select an alternate grand prize of $5,000.

Kentucky Downs Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge additional prizes:

  • 2nd place $1,000
  • 3rd place $500
  • 4th place $400
  • 5th -10th place $200
  • 11th -20th place $100

Kentucky Downs’ Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge – Quick Rules:

  • $100 entry fee
  • (3) Entries maximum per person. NOTE: Purchase three entries for a single player and receive a bonus $100 mutuel voucher from Kentucky Downs!
  • Complimentary seat at the Hall of Fame VIP Dinner on Tuesday, September 9


The contest will be limited to 300 entries. For entry information, please call 270-585-7335 or
email liveracing@KentuckyDowns.com.
Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Handicapping Contest: Official Entry Form


August 27, 2014

Kentucky Downs Announces Stable Area Surveillance

Sixteen Cameras Installed for Upcoming Live Racing Season

Franklin, KY (August 27, 2014) – In its continuing effort to be an industry leader, Kentucky Downs has installed a total of 16 surveillance cameras in the stable area for their 2014 racing season, which gets underway on Saturday, September 6.

“Safety and security is the foundation of everything we do at Kentucky Downs,” said Kentucky Downs president, Corey Johnsen. “Since we opened our gaming area in 2011 with 78 surveillance cameras, we have found it to be an effective tool in maximizing the safety and security of our patrons. Now, we plan to transfer that experience to our racing program. It is our goal to be a catalyst for change and we hope that all tracks will investigate expanding their surveillance systems to the stable area.”

The installation of surveillance cameras in the barn area is just one of several significant improvements initiated at the Franklin, Kentucky track this year. The test barn has been expanded and renovated and the turf course has benefited from a comprehensive fertilization program and improved drainage system. A new rail was purchased for the unique European style turf course. Duralock Fencing Systems was selected based on their exemplary reputation as a world leader in equestrian fencing and rails.


August 23, 2014

Rafael Bejarano to Ride at Kentucky Downs September 10 and 13

Nationally Prominent Jockey Will Support Fundraising Activities for the PDJF

Franklin, KY (August 23, 2014)Rafael Bejarano, the perennially leading rider on the Southern California circuit, will ride at Kentucky Downs on September. 10 and 13.

“I won six races in one day at Kentucky Downs and enjoy riding the course,” said Bejarano, a Breeders’ Cup and multiple-stakes winning rider. “I look forward to returning to Kentucky, raising money for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and winning some races.”

Bejarano’s banner day at Kentucky Downs took place on September 21, 2004, when he won six races at the Franklin, Kentucky racetrack. He finished second and third in his other mounts on the eight race card. He was narrowly beaten in his two losses, which means he was 1 ½ lengths from sweeping the eight race card.

He will participate in the Hall of Fame activities on Tuesday, September 9 and Wednesday, September 10, joining previously announced Hall of Fame jockeys Pat Day, Laffit Pincay, Jr., Chris McCarron and Randy Romero as well as Edgar Prado and Calvin Borel, who are current active riders. Hall of Fame festivities, including a golf tournament, VIP dinner and autograph session, will benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF).

Born in Peru, Bejarano, 32, was ranked as the 4th leading North American jockey in 2013. In addition to riding on Wednesday, September 10, he will be in the saddle for the richest day of the meet, Saturday, September 13. Kentucky Downs will offer $1.7 million in purses highlighted by the running of the Grade 3, $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup.

Opening day for the 23rd live racing season at Kentucky Downs is Saturday, Sept. 6.


August 13, 2014
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The $200,000 More Than Ready Mile Will Run Saturday, September 13 at Kentucky Downs

Prestigious Mile Event Renamed for WinStar Farm International Superstar

Franklin, KY (August 13, 2014) – One of the most prominent races of the upcoming Kentucky Downs meeting has been renamed the $200,000 More Than Ready Mile after the internationally successful stallion standing at WinStar Farm. The stakes race, which is expected to attract some of North America’s top milers, is part of a $1.7 million racing program on Saturday, September 13.

“It is an honor to involve WinStar Farm in the upcoming live season and to rename our prestigious one mile event the More Than Ready Mile,” said Kentucky Downs President Corey Johnsen. “More Than Ready has international acclaim as a stallion, so it is appropriate that he be identified with our unique one mile course, which is run with one long sweeping turn.”

More Than Ready stands at WinStar Farm, LLC in Versailles, Kentucky. Spanning over 2400 acres, WinStar is one of North America’s top Thoroughbred breeding and racing operations. Already in 2014, More Than Ready has sired 26 stakes-placed runners and 11 stakes winners including Room Service, who won the G1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland and the G1 American Oaks at Santa Anita. His current two-year-old crop and his 2014 yearling crop are arguably his best American-breds, having been conceived immediately following his first two Breeders’ Cup winners. His two-year-old stars are certainly serving notice, as he’s already sired eight debut winners; five in the U.S. and three in Europe. This has been a banner year for WinStar’s stallion roster, which includes other international sires such as Distorted Humor and Speightstown. They also stand the 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, whose first two-year-olds are off to a phenomenal start. With the impressive victory last weekend by I Spent It in the Grade 2 Toyota Saratoga Special, Super Saver vaulted to the number-one spot on both the Juvenile Sire list and Freshman Sire list.

“WinStar is proud to be associated with such a lucrative and high profile day of racing at Kentucky Downs,” said Elliott Walden, President and CEO, WinStar Farm. “More Than Ready is a world class stallion, so he was an obvious choice as the namesake for this stakes race.”
Kentucky Downs will kick off their 2014 racing season on Saturday, September 6 with five live all-turf racing days and a total of nine stakes.


July 16, 2014

Kentucky Downs Announces Turf Course and Rail Renovations

Ron Moore Hired to Oversee Program

Franklin, KY (July 16, 2014) – The purchase of a world class turf rail and a number of other course improvements are underway for the 2014 Kentucky Downs live race meet which begins on Saturday, September 6. The five-day season, which will offer a daily average purse structure of more than $1 million, is conducted on North America’s only European-style turf course.

Overseeing the improvements will be Ron Moore, formerly the track superintendent at Santa Anita and Lone Star Park, when the latter track hosted the 2004 Breeders’ Cup. The first steps of dethatching, overseeding, soil conditioning, aerating and improving drainage have been completed. The new rail installation will take place in August, as well as the completion of a comprehensive fertilization program.

“The Kentucky Downs meet brings some of the best horses in the country,” said Moore. “I have had a long association with (Kentucky Downs president) Corey Johnsen and know that, first and foremost, he is a horseman. His number one priority is safety for the horse and rider.”

The new rail is from Duralock Fencing Systems, which was selected based. on their exemplary reputation as a world leader in equestrian fencing and rails. Duralock is the supplier at first class racecourses throughout the world, including Ascot, Aintree, Belmont, Saratoga, The Curragh, Epsom, Chantilly and Meydan Racecourse.

“There is nothing more important than the consistency and safety of our turf course,” said Johnsen. “I am looking forward to hosting the premier turf horses in North America in our upcoming live meet. Improvements to our turf course and purses in excess of $1 million a day illustrate our commitment to world class racing.”

Kentucky Downs will offer racing on Sept. 6, 10, 13, 17 and 24 for its 23rd live racing season. The meet’s signature event is the Grade 3, $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup. The 1 ½ mile stakes race will be run on Saturday, September 13.


June 26, 2014
2014 Stakes Release

Kentucky Downs to Offer $1 Million A Day in Purses

All Turf Racing Meet Commences on September 6, 2014

Franklin, KY (June 26, 2014) – The 2014 Kentucky Downs live all-turf racing season will feature record purses in excess of $1 million per card for each of its five days. Saturday, September 6 is opening day at the Franklin, Kentucky racetrack, with full cards set for Wednesday, September 10, Saturday, September 13, Wednesday, September 17 and Wednesday, September 24.

“More than $1 million in daily purse structure will make 2014 a breakout year for Kentucky Downs,” said Kentucky Downs President Corey Johnsen. “I believe that record purse money combined with a world class turf course will attract many of North America’s horses, jockeys and trainers. We have also slightly modified our stakes schedule to mirror many of the distances in this year’s Breeders’ Cup.”

The signature event of the track’s 23rd meet is the Grade 3, $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup, up from $400,000 in 2013. The one and one-half mile stakes anchors an exceptional Kentucky Downs Million Day on Saturday, September 13. The four stakes on Million Day have been modified to parallel key events at the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.

The opening day card will feature three stakes, including the inaugural running of the $250,000 Dueling Grounds Derby for 3-year-olds at a distance of one and five-sixteenths miles. The stakes is named in honor of the racetrack’s original moniker, which was renamed as Kentucky Downs in 1998. The meet will wrap on Wednesday, September 24. The outstanding closing day program will include the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash and the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon.

All races and stakes have received significant increases due to the matching funds support from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF). The $150,000 stakes races run in 2013 are now $200,000; each allowance race will offer $100,000 and purses of $90,000 will be offered for 2-year-old maiden special weight events. This is the second year that Kentucky Downs has boosted purses, due in large part, from pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse races.

Tyler Picklesimer will serve as racing secretary at Kentucky Downs, and has posted the 2014 condition book on www.KentuckyDowns.com as well as www.equibase.com.

“Kentucky Downs has enjoyed the support of top horsemen for many years,” said Picklesimer. “Not only are the purses exceptional, but our turf course is in great shape. Horses come out of their races in top condition as evidenced by the large number who won at the 2013 Keeneland meeting.”

KENTUCKY DOWNS 2014 STAKES SCHEDULE

Saturday, September 6

  • 3rd running of the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile (Includes $100,000 from KTDF) – 2yo, 7 furlongs
  • 3rd running of the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies (Includes $100,000 from KTDF) – 2yo fillies, 7 furlongs
  • Inaugural running of the $250,000 Dueling Grounds Derby (Includes $125,000 from KTDF) – 3yo, 1 5/16 miles

Saturday, September 13

  • 2rd running of the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint (Includes $100,000 from KTDF) – fillies and mares, 3yo and up, 6½ furlongs
  • 21st running of the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (Includes $100,000 from KTDF) – fillies and mares, 3yo and up, 1 mile
  • 17th running of the $200,000 More Than Ready Mile (Includes $100,000 from KTDF) – 3yo and up, 1 mile
  • 23rd running of the Grade 3, $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup (Includes $300,000 from KTDF -3yo and up, 1 ½ miles

Wednesday, September 24

  • 16th running of the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash (Includes $100,000 from KTDF) – 3yo and up, 6½ furlongs
  • 3rd running of the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon (Includes $100,000 from KTDF) – fillies and mares, 3yo and up, 1 5/16 miles