Keeneland green light for new five-day meeting in July after coronavirus shutdown

Horse Racing Keeneland
Racing at Keeneland: Songbird leads the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in 2015.
Photo: Breeders’ Cup/Tyger Williams

USA: Breeders’ Cup venue Keeneland, which lost its prestigious Spring Meet to coronavirus, has been given the go-ahead for five new days of racing in July.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Tuesday approved a request to conduct a spectator-free Summer Meet at the Lexington track from Wednesday July 8 until Sunday July 12.

Ten Graded stakes usually run during the Spring Meet are to be staged on nine- or ten-race cards, headed by the Blue Grass and Ashland Stakes, major trials for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks respectively.

Ellis Park, the Kentucky venue that traditionally races during the summer, will temporarily halt their meeting to allow room for the Keeneland dates.

“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 Bill Thomason, Keeneland president/CEO.

“We also thank Ellis Park for their cooperation in this process and for making these non-traditional dates available to Keeneland. We look forward to sharing more details about the Summer Meet in the coming weeks.”

Ellis Park general manager Jeffrey Inman said: “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.”

The Breeders’ Cup returns to Keeneland for the second time on November 6-7; Triple Crown hero American Pharoah completed his Grand Slam in the Classic the last time the Breeders’ Cup visited the Kentucky venue in 2015.

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