(Churchill Downs / Coady Photography)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team / Darren Rogers:

A dozen stakes cumulatively worth a record $3,775,000 will be offered during the 14-day September Meet at Churchill Downs, which runs Sept. 14-Oct. 1 (pending Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund final approval).

          The 11th annual September Meet, which runs for three weeks, will offer horsemen plenty of opportunities to prep for the Nov. 3-4 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita, led by the $500,000 Lukas Classic (Grade II) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles and the $400,000 Ack Ack (GIII) for 3-year-olds and up at one mile – a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race for the Dirt Mile – on Saturday, Sept. 30.

          Additionally, the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks series will kick-off Saturday, Sept. 16 with the $300,000 Iroquois (GIII) and $300,000 Pocahontas (GIII), respectively. Both races for 2-year-olds have been shortened by a half-furlong to the one turn, one-mile distance.

          The Ack Ack, boosted by $100,000, is one of six stakes events that received a purse increase. The Louisville Thoroughbred Society, Bourbon Trail, Harrods Creek and Dogwood were each increased by $25,000 to be valued at $300,000 apiece. The Seneca Overnight Stakes received a $15,000 bump to $175,000.

          Additionally, the $200,000 Jefferson Cup for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf has returned to the September Meet stakes lineup following a three-year hiatus.

The condition book of scheduled races for the September Meet features 135 races and a record $15,133,000 in prize money for a daily average of $1,080,929. Maiden special weight races have a $120,000 purse while allowance races range from $127,000 to $141,000. All purses, including claiming races, include prize money from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.

Tickets for the September Meet are on sale at https://www.churchilldowns.com/tickets/. Event highlights include:

  • Twilight Thursdays featuring $2 select domestic beer, live music and food trucks (Thursdays, Sept. 14, Sept. 21 and Sept. 28).
  • Road to the 150th Kentucky Derby and 150th Kentucky Oaks Kickoff (Saturday, Sept. 16)
  • Stakes Room Brunch (Sundays, Sept. 17 and Sept. 24)
  • Downs After Dark: Bourbon & Boots (Saturday, Sept. 23)
  • Family Adventure Day (Sunday, Oct. 1)

Churchill Downs’ 14-day meet will be staged over three weeks from Thursday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Oct. 1 with racing on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Outside of the three Twilight Thursdays (5 p.m. ET) and the lone Downs After Dark on Sept. 23 (6 p.m. ET), the first race for all other race days will be 12:45 p.m. ET. Nine races are scheduled on Wednesdays, eight races are scheduled on Thursdays with 10-race programs on Fridays and Sundays. Eleven races will be showcased each Saturday.

The most lucrative day of the meet will be Road to the 150th Kentucky Derby and 150th Kentucky Oaks Kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 16 with prize money totaling $2.159 million. Five of the 11 races are stakes races.

          Construction on the new Paddock at Churchill Downs continues. As was the case during the Spring Meet, a temporary saddling paddock adjacent to the First Turn Grandstand will be utilized for the remainder of the year.


Date Running Grade Purse Race Conditions Distance Surface
Saturday, Sept. 16 39th III $400,000 Locust Grove 3&up, f&m 1 1/16 M Dirt
Saturday, Sept. 16 42nd III $300,000 Iroquois 2yo 1 M Dirt
Saturday, Sept. 16 55th III $300,000 Pocahontas 2yo f 1 M Dirt
Saturday, Sept. 16 14th Listed $300,000 Open Mind 3&up, f&m 6 F Dirt
Saturday, Sept. 16 3rd   $300,000 Louisville Thoroughbred Society 3&up 6 F Dirt
Saturday, Sept. 23 48th III $300,000 Dogwood 3yo f 7 F Dirt
Saturday, Sept. 23 3rd   $300,000 Bourbon Trail 3yo 1 3/16 M Dirt
Saturday, Sept. 23 3rd   $300,000 Harrods Creek 3yo 7 F Dirt
Saturday, Sept. 23 3rd   $175,000 Seneca Overnight Stakes 3yo f 1 1/16 M Dirt
Saturday, Sept. 30 10th II $500,000 Lukas Classic 3&up 1 1/8 M Dirt
Saturday, Sept. 30 31st III $400,000 Ack Ack 3&up 1 M Dirt
Saturday, Sept. 30 43rd   $200,000 Jefferson Cup 3yo 1 M Turf


Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”), the world’s most legendary racetrack, has been the home of The Kentucky Derby, the longest continually held annual sporting event in the United States, since 1875. Located in Louisville, CDRT features a series of themed race days during Derby Week, including the Kentucky Oaks, and conducts Thoroughbred horse racing during three race meets in the Spring, September, and the Fall. CDRT is located on 175 acres and has a one-mile dirt track, a 7/8-mile turf track, a stabling area, and provides seating for approximately 60,000 guests. The saddling paddock and the stable area has barns sufficient to accommodate 1,400 horses and a 114-room dormitory for backstretch personnel. CDRT also has a year-round simulcast wagering facility. www.ChurchillDowns.com.