Dixiana Farm to Sponsor Keeneland’s Elkhorn, Bourbon Stakes

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Purse Money Increases to $250,000 Each

LEXINGTON, KY (March 11, 2014) – William Shively’s Dixiana Farm of Lexington has become the signature sponsor of two prominent turf stakes at Keeneland – the Elkhorn (G2), to be held on Friday, April 25, closing day of the Spring Meet, and the Bourbon (G3), scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 5, during Fall Stars Weekend.

Purse money for each stakes has been increased $100,000, from $150,000 in 2013 to $250,000.

“Dixiana Farm is an invaluable member of the Keeneland family, and we are very proud of our strong partnership,” said Keeneland Vice President of Racing W.B. Rogers Beasley. “Bill Shively shares with Keeneland a deep commitment to the Thoroughbred industry as well as the Central Kentucky community.”

The Elkhorn, for 4-year-olds and up at 1½ miles on the grass, annually attracts many of the sport’s top distance specialists. First held in 1986, the Elkhorn has been won by champion turf horses Manila, Itsallgreektome and Chief Bearhart, as well as multiple graded stakes winners Lure, Fourstars Allstar, Pellegrino (BRZ), Spice Route (GB), Musketier (GER) and Point of Entry. Last year’s winner, Dark Cove, became the eighth graded stakes winner at Keeneland for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, earning for them a gold tray as part of the track’s signature stakes trophy program.

The Elkhorn Stakes is named for Elkhorn Creek, an 86-mile-long stream that runs through Fayette, Scott, Woodford and Franklin counties in Central Kentucky. Fittingly, Elkhorn Creek runs through Dixiana Farm.

Inaugurated in 1991, the Bourbon, for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, serving as an automatic qualifying race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G3). In 2007, Nownownow won the Juvenile Turf after a second-place finish to eventual grass champion Gio Ponti in the Bourbon. Other winners of the Bourbon include multiple graded stakes winners Balance the Books, Interactif and Twilight Meteor.

The Bourbon is named in recognition of Bourbon County, located northeast of Lexington and home to some of North America’s most prominent Thoroughbred farms.

Dixiana Farm, one of the oldest and most storied Thoroughbred farms, was founded by Barak G. Thomas, a former Confederate soldier, in 1877. Thomas took the breeding world by storm with his two colts Himyar, and his son, Racing Hall of Fame member and influential sire, Domino. Dixiana has been owned by a number of prominent personalities, most notably James Ben Ali Haggin, who incorporated the land as part of his Elmendorf Farm; New York magnate James Cox Brady; and Charles Fisher and later his daughter, Mary V. Fisher, an accomplished gaited show horse competitor.

Shively, a Keeneland Director and prominent Keeneland sales consignor and buyer, purchased Dixiana Farm in 2004. In 2009, he acquired Domino Stud, the half of the original Dixiana Farm that was sold in 1947. As a result, the historic farm was restored to its original acreage under one owner for the first time in more than 60 years. 

Dixiana previously sponsored the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland.

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