|The FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs is adding another big-money race to its seven-day all-turf meet with the $500,000 National Thoroughbred League Handicap on Sunday Sept. 3.
The mile race for 3-year-olds and older horses will have a base purse of $300,000 and another $200,000 from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) available only to registered Kentucky-breds.
The handicap is named after Kentucky Downs’ day sponsor. The National Thoroughbred League is an evolving concept based on teams of horses representing different owners and markets. The idea is to sell the excitement of horse racing, combined with a high-end social experience, to celebrities and the general public.
The jockeys in the race will wear NTL silks, regardless of ownership.
“We want to encourage new ideas and innovation, especially concepts created with the goal of bringing more people into horse racing,” said Ron Winchell, the co-managing partner in Kentucky Downs along with Marc Falcone. “The way you get better is to try something different or see if there is a way to tinker with with an old idea to bring it back. We also like the idea of having a handicap race, allowing horses of slightly different levels of ability to compete against each other for a lot of money.”
There are no nomination, entry or starter fees, though horses must be nominated by Aug. 21 so they can be weighted. Weights will be announced Aug. 24.
“We ran a handicap last year, and it was well-received,” said Kentucky Downs racing secretary Tyler Picklesimer. “After reviewing our overall program, and knowing the popularity of our stakes, we decided to bring it back. With the Grade 3 Mint Millions now worth $2 million and held the day before, a handicap worth $500,000 is a great spot for horses who didn’t get into the Mint Millions as well as improving horses that aren’t quite ready for graded stakes.”
Downloadable nomination form
Kentucky Downs’ Equibase track page