Kentucky Downs’ Mint Millions Worth $2 Million in 2023

The GIII Mint Millions S. will become the first $2-million race ever run at Kentucky Downs, as well as the richest American turf race outside of the Breeders’ Cup, when it is run Sept. 2 at the Franklin track. The one-mile Mint Millions offers a base purse of $1 million, with another $1 million from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF). Last year, the base was $600,000, with a $400,000 supplement from the KTDF.

The Millions was one of 17 stakes–including nine graded events–that was unveiled Wednesday for the track’s upcoming boutique seven-day all-turf meet. With seven races worth at least $1 million, the stakes schedule offers $7.6 million available for all horses and another $6.4 million in KTDF enhancements earmarked for those horses foaled in Kentucky and sired by a Kentucky stallion.

The six other graded stakes offering $1 million in available purses are the GII Kentucky Turf Cup, the GII Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint, GII Franklin-Simpson S., the GII Mint Ladies Sprint, GIII Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf and the GIII Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon. Those stakes, all carded for a blockbuster Sept. 9 program, will have base purses of $600,000 with another $400,000 available for KTDF-eligible horses, which reflect the vast majority of horses racing at Kentucky Downs.

“We are laser-focused on securing Grade I races for Kentucky Downs. Our 2023 stakes schedule is another step toward that mission,” said Kentucky Downs Vice President for Racing Ted Nicholson. “Our KTDF money allows us to run North America’s richest two weeks of racing, including the potential to run more stakes worth at least $1 million during a meet than any U.S. track outside a Breeders’ Cup host. But regardless of where horses are born, our base purses guarantee everyone runs for some of the largest purses on the planet.”

Ron Winchell, who with Marc Falcone are Kentucky Downs’ co-managing partners, added, “We want the Mint Millions to be the pre-eminent launching pad to the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Turf milers are among the biggest stars in Europe, and we’re giving them a million more reasons to come to Kentucky Downs.”

Three other Kentucky Downs’ stakes–the Sept. 2 GIII Music City S., the Sept. 2 Gun Runner S. and the Sept. 3 Dueling Grounds Oaks had their purses substantially boosted to $750,000, split evenly between the base purse and KTDF enhancements. The GIII Dueling Grounds Derby, also on Sept. 3, was raised to $750,000 last year.

The remaining six stakes will be worth $500,000, half from the base purse and the rest from the KTDF.

The overall purse structure for the meet is scheduled for $22.82 million–a track record for the 12th straight year since the advent of historical horse racing.

Kentucky Downs maiden races will be worth $150,000 for Kentucky-bred horses. And the track will once again offer a pair of $250,000 allowance races–one for 2-year-old fillies and one for 2-year-old colts–restricted to horses that went through the sales ring at Keeneland’s 2022 September Yearling sale. Those 6 1/2-furlong races will be held opening day, Aug. 31, with all runners competing for the entire pot.

Kentucky Downs will run Aug. 31 and Sept. 2, 3, 7, 9, 10 and 13.

The entire 2023 Kentucky Downs stakes schedule is:

All stakes are on turf and include Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund supplements


Thursday Aug. 31  $500,000 Tapit Stakes, 3 year olds & up who have not won a stakes in 2023, mile and 70 yards.


Saturday Sept. 2 — $750,000 Music City (G3), 3-year-old fillies, 6 1/2 furlongs; $750,000 Gun Runner, 3-year-olds, one mile; $2 million Mint Millions (G3), 3 year olds & up, one mile.


Sunday Sept. 3 — $750,000 Dueling Grounds Derby (G3), 3-year-olds, 1 5/16 miles; $750,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks, 3-year-old fillies, 1 5/16 miles.


Thursday Sept. 7 — $500,000 One Dreamer, fillies and mares 3 years old & up who have not won a stakes in 2023, mile and 70 yards.


Saturday Sept. 9 — $1 million Franklin-Simpson (G2), 3-year-olds, 6 1/2 furlongs; $1 million Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G2), 3-year-olds & up, six furlongs; $1 million Kentucky Turf Cup (G2), 3-year-olds & up, 1 1/2 miles; $1 million The Mint Ladies Sprint (G2), fillies and mares 3 years old & up, 6 1/2 furlongs; $1 million Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3), fillies and mares 3 years old & up, one mile; $1 million Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon (G3), fillies and mares 3 years old & up, 1 5/16 miles.


Sunday, Sept. 10 — $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile, 2-year-olds, mile; $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies, 2-year-old fillies, mile.


Wednesday Sept. 13 — $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Sprint, 2-year-olds, 6 1/2 furlongs; $500,000 Untapable Stakes, 2-year-old fillies, 6 1/2 furlongs.

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