Keeneland September Grads to Cash in at Kentucky Downs

Keeneland September Grads Could Cash in at Kentucky Downs

On Sept. 8 during the boutique race meet at Kentucky Downs, owners and trainers will have the opportunity to compete in two $250,000 allowance races open to 2-year-olds who went through the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale ring -- whether they were sold or RNA’d. The winners each will earn $150,000

The distance of the races is 6½ furlongs. One race is for fillies and the other is for colts and geldings.

‘Keep Sales Horses in Kentucky’

With its undulating European-style turf course, Kentucky Downs offers a unique racing experience in North America, with $18 million in total purses during the meet that runs Sept. 1, 3, 4, 8, 10, 11 and 14, making its average daily purse distribution the highest in the U.S. 

Every meet, owners tell us after winning a race that now they have more money for the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. It’s just another incentive to keep those sales horses in Kentucky or to bring them back to the state to race.
-Kentucky Downs Vice President for Racing Ted Nicholson

Synergy of Racing and Sales

The collaboration between Keeneland and Kentucky Downs with the two allowance races reflects the track’s continued participation in all aspects of the Kentucky horse industry. Keeneland will host this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships and its September Sale is the pre-eminent source of Grade 1 winners and North American champions.

BC Paddock Statue

Keeneland’s collaboration with Kentucky Downs builds on the synergy of racing and sales, and creates anticipation among horsemen for September Sale. This unique venture also fulfills Keeneland’s mission to strengthen Kentucky racing and work with industry entities toward a shared goal of bettering the sport.
-Keeneland Vice President of Racing Gatewood Bell

‘Opportunity to Compete for Big Bucks’

Unlike many of the races at Kentucky Downs and other Kentucky tracks in which a portion of the purse that is subsidized by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund is available only to Kentucky-breds, all starters are eligible for the total purses. Funding for the allowance races will come out of the Kentucky Downs horsemens’ purse account under an agreement with the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

This is just another example of horsemen and racetracks working together to strengthen the entire circuit. This also gives owners buying horses in the middle and end of Keeneland’s September Sale the opportunity to compete for big bucks with a horse that might not cost a lot of money.
-Kentucky HBPA Executive Director Marty Maline

‘Owners Are Aware of It’

Among trainers aiming to participate in the inaugural allowance races is Rusty Arnold, a regular at Kentucky Downs. Arnold is pointing Cadillac Candy, a Twirling Candy colt purchased for $15,000 from the Hermitage Farm consignment at the Keeneland Sale, to the colts and geldings division.

Rusty Arnold

I love it, being able to run for a $250,000 purse in an allowance race. I have owners that are aware of it and looking to see if they have any horses eligible. And the horse doesn’t have to be a Kentucky-bred to get all the money.
-Trainer Rusty Arnold

Trainer Graham Motion: ‘It’s Extra Appealing’

Another regular Kentucky Downs trainer, Graham Motion, could have a starter in the filly allowance race with Grand Oak, an Irish-bred daughter of Speightstown recently purchased by his Herringswell Racing Club at auction. The filly had previously been sold by Hunter Valley Farm for $105,000 at the 2021 September Sale.

Graham Motion

I think it’s a great concept. We love running at Kentucky Downs anyway. It's extra appealing because as an Irish-bred, she still gets to race for the entire purse.
-Trainer Graham Motion