LOUISVILLE, Ky.– The Kentucky horse racing circuit shifts from Keeneland in Lexington to Churchill Downs in Louisville on Sunday as the historic home of the Kentucky Derby readies to open its 131st Fall Meet with an 11-race program – all for promising 2-year-old Thoroughbreds – at 1 p.m. (all times Eastern).
The popular 24-day stand covers a five-week stretch every Wednesday-Sunday through Nov. 29, with the exception of Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7 when the Breeders’ Cup World Championships return to Keeneland.
The Fall Meet kicks off in style Sunday with the 16th annual “Stars of Tomorrow I” program, which is entirely devoted to hopeful 2-year-old stars that have aspirations of trail-blazing their way to next year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) and Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI).
Sunday’s 11-race opening day card is headlined by the eighth runnings of two 1 1/16 miles, $98,000-added overnight stakes – the open-company Street Sense and Rags to Riches for fillies. Those races serve as local steppingstones to the two Grade II, $200,000, 1 1/16-mile counterparts on the Saturday, Nov. 28 “Stars of Tomorrow II” program – the open Kentucky Jockey Club and Golden Rod for fillies that are part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks series which award points to the Top 4 finishers (10-4-2-1).
Churchill Downs Welcomes Back Guests
Sunday’s Fall Meet opener will mark the first time this year that spectators can return to Churchill Downs for live racing. Churchill Downs will continue to follow the COVID-19 health and safety protocols for Venues and Events as mandated by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Last year’s average daily attendance during the Fall Meet was 4,200 guests, and less spectators are expected this year. Reserved outdoor box seats as well as select indoor premium areas will be open with proper social distancing at limited capacity per the state’s requirements for venues and event spaces.
To facilitate a safe and enjoyable experience, there will be no general admission at the Fall Meet but first floor reserved box seats will be sold at general admission pricing for $5 ($7 on Nov. 27-28). Third floor box seats are $12. Dining options are $39 ($72 on Thanksgiving Day and $49 on Nov. 27-28). Tickets may be purchased online at https://www.churchilldowns.com/tickets/. Children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking is available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis.
Temperature checks, medical questionnaires, physical distancing and mandatory face coverings will be required upon entrance and movement within Churchill Downs. An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present.
More information on Churchill Downs’ COVID-19 health and safety guidelines can be found online at https://www.churchilldowns.com/tickets/admissions-services/updates.
Big Money, Big Fields
Over the course of the meet, horsemen will have ample opportunities to uncork promising juveniles or seek year-end graded-stakes glory. All told, 10 stakes races cumulatively worth $1.796 million – which includes eight graded stakes events – will be run during the fall stand. Meanwhile, bettors are certain to be challenged by the competitive Fall Meet racing that typically pits the fastest and battle-tested horses against the recently freshened year-end bloomers.
With a compact 24-day schedule and not as many competing race meets at year’s end, the Fall Meet often offers large fields. Last fall, the average field size was 8.9 horses per race.
The reason? Purses at Churchill Downs have been supercharged since September 2018 thanks to business from state-of-the-art historical racing machines at nearby Derby City Gaming. This year’s Fall Meet condition book offers $15.2 million in prize money (all purses include money from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund), which averages to $633,900 per day. There will be a total of 251 races and the average purse offered is $60,616 per race. Maiden special weight races are worth $85,000 and allowance races range from $87,000 to $95,000.
The anchor of the lucrative stakes program comes on “Black Friday,” Nov. 27 with the 146th running of the $500,000 Clark Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI). The 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-olds and up annually lures some of the top older horses in North America and is one of six stakes events cumulatively worth $1.3 million to be contested over Thanksgiving weekend.
Racing Every Wednesday-Sunday; First Race 1 p.m. Most Days
After Sunday’s opener, live racing will be conducted on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule with dark days on Mondays, Tuesdays and Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7. Most race days feature 10 live races. There will be 11 on Sunday’s opener as well as Saturday, Nov. 14 and Saturday, Nov. 21. Twelve-race cards are scheduled over the final four days, Nov. 26-29.
Post time will be 1 p.m. (all times Eastern) on most racing days with admission gates open at noon. There will be an early 11:30 a.m. start (gates 10:30 a.m.) on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 26) – a Louisville tradition at Churchill Downs since 1969.
Stars of Tomorrow Produces
Inaugurated in 2005, the “Stars of Tomorrow” programs at Churchill Downs have helped launched the careers of numerous graded stakes winners, including more than 50 future Grade I winners led by Horse of the Year champions Gun Runner (2017) and Rachel Alexandra (2009); Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver (2010); Kentucky Oaks winners Rachel Alexandra (2009), Believe You Can (2012) and Monomoy Girl (2018); Preakness winners Shackleford (2011), War of Will (2019) and Swiss Skydiver (2020); Belmont winners Creator (2016) and Tiz the Law (2020); as well as 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic and 2013 Stephen Foster hero Fort Larned and 2013 champion 3-year-old Will Take Charge.
Churchill Downs Racing to Air on FS1/FS2
The racing action from Churchill Downs Racetrack throughout the Fall Meet will be broadcast on FOX Sports’ “America’s Day at the Races,” which will air every race day on either FS1 or FS2.
Produced by the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) in partnership with FOX Sports, “America’s Day at the Races” is the acclaimed national telecast presenting coverage and analysis of the best racing from around the country.
Sunday’s opener at Churchill Downs will air on FS2 from 12:30-2 p.m. and 3-6 p.m. (no racing from 2-3 p.m. but programming will air from 12:30-6 p.m. on MSG+).
How to Watch FS1/FS2
Spectrum: Ch. 71 (Spectrum Select, Spectrum Silver and Spectrum Gold packages)
DirecTV: Ch. 219 (Entertainment, Choice, Xtra, Ultimate and Premier packages)
DISH: Ch. 150 (America’s Top 250, America’s Top 200, America’s Top 120 Plus and America’s Top 120 packages)
AT&T U-Verse: Ch. 652 (U200, U300 and U450 packages)
Streaming services: Hulu, Sling (Blue or Orange+Blue) and YouTube TV
Spectrum: Ch. 552 (Spectrum Silver and Spectrum Gold packages)
DirecTV: Ch. 618 (Xtra, Ultimate and Premier packages)
DISH: Ch. 149 (America’s Top 250, America’s Top 200 and America’s Top 120 Plus packages)
AT&T U-Verse: Ch. 651 (U200, U300 and U450 packages)
Streaming services: Hulu and YouTube TV
Betting Menu Features 20-Cent Single 6 Jackpot
The Fall Meet betting menu will be the same as recent meets and includes the 20-cent minimum “Single 6 Jackpot,” which is offered on the last six races each day with a low 15-percent takeout. The Single 6 Jackpot will be paid out only if there is a single winning wager with six winners placed at the required minimum bet value. If there are multiple winning wagers with six winners in the six-race sequence, 90 percent of the net money wagering into the pool will be paid out, and the remaining 10 percent will carry to the Single 6 Jackpot. If there are no tickets will all six winners, 100 percent of the pool will carry to the Single 6 Jackpot. There will be a mandatory payout on closing day.
Included daily will be at least two 50-cent Pick 5s and three 50-cent Pick 4s. Each day’s program will begin with the low 15-percent takeout 50-cent Pick 5 (Races 1-5). The early Pick 4 will span Races 2-5. Also, the Late Pick 5 and Late Pick 4 will cover the final five and four races, respectively. A Mid-Card Pick 4 is offered on 10-race programs and will cover Races 4-7. When 11 races are scheduled a Mid-Card Pick 5 will cover Races 4-8 and the Mid-Card Pick 4 will cover Races 5-8. Programs with 12 races will have a Mid-Card Pick 5 on Races 5-9 and a Mid-Card Pick 4 on Races 6-9.
Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Daily Double and Pick 3 wagers will be offered every race (on all races that qualify under Kentucky statues for minimum field size) and the $1 Super Hi-5 will once again be offered in the last race.
Bet on Churchill Downs Via TwinSpires.com
Racing fans are encouraged to wager on racing from Churchill Downs via TwinSpires.com, the official advance-deposit wagering service for Churchill Downs Incorporated and its family of racetracks.
TwinSpires.com boasts a new and improved wagering experience and mobile app combining the latest technology with the ability to wager on virtually every quarter, harness and thoroughbred horse race from venues across the globe. The new app provides users with smoother and more intuitive navigation, enhanced live-streaming capabilities allowing players to watch races while searching for their next wager, and all the best bonus offers, free bets, and promotions that TwinSpires.com is known for.
TwinSpires.com also offers access to unmatched insight and analysis from horse racing experts, handicappers, insiders, educators and Bloodstock Research Information Services (Brisnet).
Lanerie, Asmussen, Lothenbach Defend Fall Titles
Corey Lanerie, who rode 33 winners at the 2019 Fall Meet, is seeking to land his 20th riding title at Churchill Downs, but Tyler Gaffalione enters the season fresh off Spring and September Meet local titles with 31 and 20 wins, respectively. Steve Asmussen, who overtook Dale Romans as the track’s all-time win leader with 759 Churchill Downs wins, has won a record 24 local training titles including three in a row: last year’s Fall Meet (23 wins) and this year’s Spring (17 wins) and September (12 wins) meets. Bob Lothenbach’s Lothenbach Stables won the 2019 Fall Meet owners’ crown with eight wins, three more than Brad Kelley of Calumet Farm’s five victories.
Watch and Wager on the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs
Churchill Downs will simulcast the Breeders’ Cup World Championships from Keeneland on Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7, but there will be no live racing those days.
A simulcast of the 10-race “Future Stars Friday” card from Keeneland will begin at 11:30 a.m. and the Breeders’ Cup will cover Races 6-10 (2:30-5:10 p.m.). Championship Saturday’s 12-race program at Keeneland will commence at 10:15 a.m. with the Breeders’ Cup on Races 4-12 (Breeders’ Cup starts at 12:02 p.m.). It will culminate with the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) at 5:13 p.m.
Simulcast wagering on the Breeders’ Cup will be available in the ITW area on the second floor of the Clubhouse, as well as select dining spaces. Guests who attend Churchill Downs on Friday will be able to advance wager on the entire Championship Saturday program from Keeneland. There is no advance wagering on-track Thursday for the Championship Friday program.
Kentucky Derby Future Wagers Return on Closing Weekend
The first pools of the 2021 Kentucky Derby Future Wager will be offered Nov. 26-29. The traditional pool with 23 individual wagering interests and an “all others” option will return, and so will the Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager, which debuted in 2015 and requires bettors to wager on the winning sire for next year’s Kentucky Derby winner. The other Future Wager dates are tentatively set for Jan. 22-24 (Pool 2), Feb. 12-14 (Pool 3), March 5-7 (Pool 4) and March 26-28 (Pool 5). The lone Kentucky Oaks Future Wager will coincide with Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 on March 5-7.
Odds and Ends
Travis Stone will describe the racing action throughout the Fall Meet. Veteran odds maker Mike Battaglia has morning line odds duty for the 46th consecutive year.
‘Churchill Downs Today’ Airs One-Hour Before First Race
Joe Kristufek is Churchill Downs’ on-track and simulcast host with additional race-by-race analysis to be provided by Ed DeRosa, James Scully, Scott Shapiro and Brandon Stauble.
“Churchill Downs Today,” the track’s daily racing preview program, will air one hour before the first race of the day and can be seen on-track and www.TwinSprires.com.
Free Past Performances
Churchill Downs will offer handicappers free Brisnet past performances each day. Horseplayers can visit www.churchilldowns.com/racing-handicapping/handicapping/expert-picksfor complementary Brisnet past performances along with daily expert selections from Ed DeRosa, Joe Kristufek and Scott Shapiro of TwinSpires.com and several other handicapping tips including workouts of the day from expert clocker Bruno DeJulio.
2020 Churchill Downs Fall Meet Stakes Schedule
For more information, call (502) 636-4400 or visit www.churchilldowns.com.