The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has approved Keeneland’s request for a five-day, spectator-free meet July 8-12 that will allow the running of marquee prep races for the rescheduled Kentucky Derby and Oaks.
Keeneland canceled its 16-day spring meet in March amid public health concerns because of the coronavirus outbreak. That initially eliminated the $600,000 Grade 2 Blue Grass and $400,000 Grade 1 Ashland, which award points toward the Derby and its sister race for fillies, Oaks. The track last week requested the special meet, which the KHRC granted after Ellis Park made the dates available.
The Ashland and Blue Grass are now back in play for the Oaks and Derby, which are set for Sept. 4-5 at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
“Keeneland appreciates the quick response of the Commission to our request, and we applaud all their work on behalf of Kentucky racing during these unprecedented times,” said Keeneland President/CEO Bill Thomason, who also thanked Ellis Park in a news release.
Added Ellis Park general manager Jeffrey Inman, “We are all in this together, and Ellis Park is pleased to work with Keeneland on a plan that benefits our horsemen and Kentucky racing.”
Keeneland plans to run at least nine races each day and will feature 10 graded stakes events.