Featured News

Keeneland and Kentucky Downs Team to Offer Lucrative Racing Opportunities to Horses Sold at the September Sale

September 10, 2021

Horses offered at auction during the upcoming Keeneland September Yearling Sale will be eligible to run in a pair of $250,000 allowance races at the 2022 FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs.

Keeneland and Kentucky Downs today announced an arrangement where Kentucky Downs will stage one $250,000 allowance race for 2-year-old fillies and one for 2-year-old colts and geldings restricted to horses that go through the sales ring at Keeneland’s world-famous yearling auction Sept. 13-24 in Lexington, Ky. Yearlings that are sold as well as those not reaching their reserve bid will be eligible for the lucrative allowance events the following September at Kentucky Downs. 

“This innovative venture between Keeneland and Kentucky Downs is a win/win, rewarding those horsemen who buy yearlings at the September Sale with lucrative racing opportunities while enhancing Kentucky’s racing circuit,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing Gatewood Bell said. “It is an investment very much in keeping with Keeneland’s mission to strengthen the sport of racing, and an example of how collaboration among racing entities benefits our industry.”

“Every meet, owners tell us after winning a race that now they have more money for the Keeneland September Yearling sale,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ Vice President for Racing. “This is just another incentive to keep those sales horses in Kentucky or to bring them back to the state to race. This should also help breeders and consignors of yearlings with turf pedigrees, giving potential owners extra reason to buy a grass horse.”

Kentucky Downs already offers the largest purses in America. To put the $250,000 purse in perspective, an entry-level allowance race for 2-year-olds at the 2021 meet carries a purse of $145,800, of which $75,600 comes from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF).

The Keeneland sale-restricted allowance purses will not include any KTDF money, which is available only to registered Kentucky-bred horses. That means horses born anywhere will run for the entire $250,000, which is more than the purses of most stakes races. 

Funding will come out of the Kentucky Downs’ horsemen’s purse account under an agreement with the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, which represents owners and trainers at the commonwealth’s five Thoroughbred racetracks.

“This is just another example of horsemen and racetracks working together to strengthen the entire circuit,” said Marty Maline, Executive Director of the Kentucky HBPA. “This also gives owners buying horses in the middle and end of Keeneland’s September Sale the opportunity to compete for big bucks with a horse that might not cost a lot of money.”

Kentucky Downs’ 2021 meet opened Sunday, Sept. 5 and continues on Sept. 11 and 12. The six-date session was scheduled to pay out more than $15 million in purses, including KTDF supplements. 

Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale is the world’s most important Thoroughbred auction, offering quality yearlings at all levels of the market. Attracting buyers from across the world, Keeneland September is racing’s No. 1 source of future champions and Grade 1 winners. The 2021 auction spans 11 daily sessions, beginning Monday, Sept. 13.

A total of 2,481 yearlings were sold for a collective $248,978,700 at last year’s September Sale. While the sales topper fetched $2 million, the average price was $100,354 with the median being $37,000.