The second September Meet in the 140-year history of Churchill Downs will offer a eight stakes races with total purses of $925,000 during its 12-day run, topped by a pair of stakes events for 2-year-olds who have their eyes on the Breeders’ Cup and the return of the $125,000-added Homecoming Classic, a race for 3-year-olds and up designed as a prep for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The opening Saturday night of the Sept. 5-28 meet will feature four of those stakes events in a program highlighted by the Grade II, $200,000-added Pocahontas for 2-year-old fillies and the Grade IIII, $100,000-added Iroquois for colts each going 1 1/16-miles. Both races are part of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” and “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” points system for the 2015 Derby and Oaks, and the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” program for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
The second running of the Homecoming Classic – a 1 1/8-mile race designed to be a prep for the 1 ¼-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic will share the stage on Saturday, Sept. 27 with the Grade III, $100,000-added Jefferson Cup, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Racing during the September Meet will be conducted on a Friday-through-Sunday schedule during each of its four weeks, with “Downs After Dark” night racing celebrations scheduled for Friday, Sept. 5 (Opening Night) and Friday, Sept. 19.
The races on the stakes schedule for this year’s meet are identical to the roster of events offered during last year’s inaugural September racing session, but total stakes purses have been reduced by $50,000 and individual purses have been changed for three races. The Pocahontas purse has been raised by $50,000 to $200,000-added. Purses for the Homecoming Classic and Iroquois were each reduced by $50,000. The value of the Homecoming Classic is now $125,000-added, while the Iroquois purse is $100,000-added.
The Pocahontas and Iroquois will be joined on that first Saturday program by the Grade III, $100,000-added Ack Ack, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up, and the $100,000-added Locust Grove, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares.
The $100,000-added Open Mind, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares, will be the featured event on Saturday, Sept. 13, while the Grade III, $100,000-added Dogwood for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 20.
The roster of winners of stakes events run during last year’s inaugural September Meet included:
- Mrs. Janis Whitham’s Fort Larned, the winner of the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic that used a victory in the first Homecoming Classic as a final prep race for his defense of his Breeders’ Cup triumph. Fort Larned would finish fourth to Mucho Macho Man in the Classic at Santa Anita and end his career with 10 wins and nearly $4.5 million from 25 starts.
- Winchell Thoroughbreds’
- Untapable, whose victory in the Pocahontas earned the 2-year-old daughter of Tapit a starting spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She finished eighth in that race, but is unbeaten in 2014 with four stakes victories that include the Kentucky Oaks and the Mother Goose at Belmont Park. Another accomplished product of the 2013 Pocahontas isRosalind, who finished third to Untapable and went on to be a dead-heat winner of the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland this April.
Churchill Downs had conducted racing during the month of September during parts of various summer and fall racing meets during its long history that began in 1875. But last year was the first in which the track had offered both a third racing meet in a calendar year and a racing session conducted exclusively during September.
Seating for the Sept. 5 and Sept. 19 “Downs After Dark” celebrations and other racing programs scheduled during the first Homecoming Meet at Churchill Downs is available for purchase online at www.ChurchillDowns.com.
|CHURCHILL DOWNS SEPTEMBER MEET STAKES SCHEDULE
Sept. 5-Sept. 28
|Sat., Sept. 6||Iroquois||III||Open||2YO||1 1/16 M||Dirt||$100,000|
|Pocahontas||II||Fillies||2YO||1 1/16 M||Dirt||$200,000|
|Locust Grove||F & M||3 & Up||1 1/16 M||Dirt||$100,000|
|III||Open||3 & Up||1 M||Dirt||$100,000|
|Sat., Sept. 13||Open Mind||F & M||3 & Up||6 F||Dirt||$100,000|
|Sat., Sept. 20||Dogwood||III||Fillies||3YO||7 F||Dirt||$100,000|
|Sat., Sept. 27||Homecoming Classic||Open||3 & Up||1 1/8 M||Dirt||$125,000|
|Jefferson Cup||III||Open||3YO||1 M||Turf||$100,000|