LEXINGTON, KY (July 29, 2014) – Keeneland, in partnership with Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Shadwell Farm, announced today that the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) will carry a purse of $1 million for its 29th running on Saturday, Oct. 4.
With the increase, the Shadwell Turf Mile becomes Keeneland’s first stakes worth $1 million and will rank as one of North America’s richest races held at a mile on the turf.
Shadwell Farm has sponsored the Turf Mile, for horses 3 years old and older, since 1999. The purse was increased to $750,000 in 2012.
“Shadwell Farm has played a very special role in Keeneland’s history for 30 years, actively supporting our racing program as both a sponsor and owner, and as a leading buyer at our sales,” said Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason. “We sincerely thank Sheikh Hamdan and (vice president & general manager) Rick Nichols for their commitment to Thoroughbred racing, to Central Kentucky and to Keeneland.”
The Shadwell Turf Mile, which serves as the cornerstone of Keeneland’s signature Fall Stars Weekend, is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, with the winner automatically qualifying for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). The Shadwell Turf Mile has been won by such champions as Wise Dan, Gio Ponti (twice), Favorite Trick, Itsallgreektome and Steinlen (GB) and major stakes winners Court Vision, Thorn Song, Perfect Soul (IRE) and Landseer (GB). Shadwell Stable (Rick Nichols, lessee) won three editions of the race, with Dumaani in 1995 and 1996 and Altibr in 2000.
“Sheikh Hamdan and all of us at Shadwell have enjoyed working with Keeneland to develop the Shadwell Turf Mile,” said Rick Nichols. “A special tribute to the late Howard Battle who, as Keeneland’s racing secretary, worked very hard in the early days of sponsorship to elevate the Turf Mile from a G3 to a G1 event. Sheikh Hamdan has always felt that our best breeding stock comes from horses that compete successfully at a mile. Keeneland has provided the opportunity and the stage for him to develop a world-class race at that distance that will draw and test horses from all over the globe.”
Sheikh Hamdan established Shadwell Farm in Lexington, Ky., in 1985, and it quickly became one of the world’s most prestigious racing and breeding operations. Among the prominent horses campaigned by Shadwell are Horse of the Year Invasor (ARG), winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and Dubai World Cup (G1); Belmont (G1) winner Jazil; two-time King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond (G1) and Irish Champion (G1) winner Swain (IRE), and European champion Dayjur. Invasor and Jazil stand at Shadwell.
In 2012, Shadwell commissioned a sculptor to create a one-of-a kind trophy for the Shadwell Turf Mile featuring a majestic bronze falcon modeled after Sheikh Hamdan’s prize falcon, Nayef. Each year, the winning owner receives a replica of this perpetual trophy.