From the KY Downs Media Team / Jennie Rees:

$250K allowance races for Keeneland September Sale grads return to Kentucky Downs on opening day, Aug. 31

For the second year, Kentucky Downs is offering a pair of $250,000 allowance races restricted to 2-year-olds that went through the sales ring at the prior year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Both races – one for fillies and one for colts and geldings – are at 6 1/2 furlongs and are on the opening-day card, Thursday Aug. 31. The seven-day all-grass FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs also races Sept. 2, 3, 7, 9, 10 and 13 over America’s only European course.

Horses are eligible for the lucrative allowance races if they were either sold at the 2022 Keeneland September Sale or were offered but did not reach their predetermined minimum selling price, known as an RNA (reserve not attained). Entries for the Keeneland sales races and the rest of Kentucky Downs’ opening card will be taken this Saturday, Aug. 26.

Last year’s male division produced G1 Arkansas Derby winner Angel of Empire, who finished third in the Kentucky Derby, and Mo Stash, who finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and won Keeneland’s Grade 3 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania this past spring.

“At Keeneland, we work hard to promote the success of our sales grads,” said Keeneland Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy. “These races are a great way to publicize sales grads who are just starting their careers, especially in a segment of the market that is growing, the turf aspect. Kentucky Downs has been a great partner and there is terrific synergy between the racing and sales operations of our two organizations. Once horses walk through the Keeneland sales ring — exiting either as a sale or an RNA — they are qualified to participate in the race.”

Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ Vice President for Racing, said that every year he hears from owners after they win a Kentucky Downs race that they now have more money to spend at the Keeneland sale.

“That’s the beauty of this: We offer some of the largest purses in the world. But no matter where those owners are from, chances are that at least a good chunk of what a horse earns will be reinvested right back into the Kentucky Thoroughbred industry,” he said.

Lacy agreed, calling the need for a strong racing product to support the sales and vice versa “a very delicate ecosystem we continually want to strengthen. Locally and indeed around the country, it’s a huge economic driver.”

The Keeneland sales races were moved from later in the meet last year to opening day this year, raising the possibility that a horse could run in the allowance event and go back in one of Kentucky Downs’ 2-year-old stakes. The Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile and Global Tote Juvenile Fillies at a mile are Sept. 10; the Pepsi Juvenile Sprint and Pepsi Untapable for 2-year-old fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs are Sept. 13, closing day. The four 2-year-old stakes carry a total purse of $500,000, with $250,000 coming from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund for registered Kentucky-bred horses.


2023 Kentucky Downs stakes schedule

All stakes are on turf and include Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund

Thursday Aug. 31 — $500,000 FanDuel TVG Tapit Stakes, 3 year olds & up who have not won a stakes in 2023, mile and 70 yards.

Saturday Sept. 2 — $1 million Big Ass Fans Music City (G3), 3-year-old fillies, 6 1/2 furlongs; $1 million Gun Runner, 3-year-olds, one mile; $2 million The Mint Millions (G3), 3 year olds & up, one mile.

Sunday Sept. 3 — $1 million National Thoroughbred League Dueling Grounds Derby (G3), 3-year-olds, 1 5/16 miles; $1 million Dueling Grounds Oaks, 3-year-old fillies, 1 5/16 miles. Also: $500,000 National Thoroughbred League Handicap, 3-year-olds & up, mile.

Thursday Sept. 7 — $500,000 Jeff Ruby’s One Dreamer, fillies and mares 3 years old & up who have not won a stakes in 2023, mile and 70 yards.

Saturday Sept. 9 — $1 million Ainsworth Turf Sprint (G2) *BC, 3-year-olds & up, six furlongs; $1 million FanDuel Turf Cup (G2) *BC, 3-year-olds & up, 1 1/2 miles; $1 million Exacta Systems Franklin-Simpson (G2), 3-year-olds, 6 1/2 furlongs; $1 million AGS Ladies Sprint (G2), fillies and mares 3 years old & up, 6 1/2 furlongs; $1 million Castle Hill Gaming Ladies Turf (G3), fillies and mares 3 years old & up, one mile; $1 million Aristocrat Ladies Marathon (G3), fillies and mares 3 years old & up, 1 5/16 miles.

Sunday, Sept. 10 — $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile, 2-year-olds, mile; $500,000 Global Tote Juvenile Fillies, 2-year-old fillies, mile.

Wednesday Sept. 13 — $500,000 Pepsi Juvenile Sprint, 2-year-olds, 6 1/2 furlongs; $500,000 Pepsi Untapable, 2-year-old fillies, 6 1/2 furlongs.

*BC: Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race – winner gets fees-paid berth in corresponding Breeders’ Cup race at Santa Anita.

About Keeneland

Since its first race meet began on Oct. 15, 1936, the Keeneland Association has devoted itself to the health and vibrancy of the Thoroughbred industry. The world’s largest Thoroughbred auction house, Keeneland conducts four sales a year, in January, April, September and November, and presents online auctions through the Keeneland Digital Sales Ring. Graduates of Keeneland sales dominate racing across the globe at every level. In April and October, Keeneland offers some of the highest caliber and richest Thoroughbred racing in the world. Keeneland hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in 2015, 2020 and 2022. Uniquely structured, Keeneland is a privately held company with a not-for-profit mission that returns its earnings to the industry and the community in the form of higher purses and millions of dollars donated in support of horse industry initiatives and charitable contributions for education, research, and health and human services throughout Central Kentucky. Keeneland also maintains the Keeneland Library, a world-renowned public research institution with the mission of preserving information about the Thoroughbred industry. To learn more, visit

The Mint Gaming Hall properties
The Mint Gaming Hall at Kentucky Downs

Located near the Kentucky and Tennessee border, just off Interstate 65 and approximately 35 miles from Nashville, Tenn., Kentucky Downs features Historical Horse Racing gaming terminals and conducts live turf racing each September on America’s only “European-style” race course while offering among the highest purses in the world. Kentucky Downs is a pioneer in modern Historical Horse Racing, the electronic form of pari-mutuel betting on horses that has become one of the great financial success stories in the sport’s history. Racing has been conducted at the facility since 1990, when it was called Dueling Grounds.

Address: 5629 Nashville Road, P.O. Box 405, Franklin, KY 42135


Phone: 270.586.7778

2023 racing dates: Aug. 31 and Sept. 2, 3, 7, 9, 10 and 13.

The Mint Gaming Hall Bowling Green

Address: 2475 Scottsville Road, Ste. 101 & 102, Bowling Green, KY 42104


Phone: 270.353.6400

The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland Run

Address: 777 Winners Lane, Corbin, KY 40701


Phone: 606.620.0250

2023 harness racing dates: Oct. 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31; Nov. 5, 6, 7

The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland

Address: 244 Penny Lane, Williamsburg, KY 40769


Phone: 606-400-28