Everything you need to know about Churchill Downs’ 132nd fall meet (except the winners!)

From Churchill Downs’ media department (Keeneland/Coady Photography photo of Bell’s the One, #6 under Corey Lanerie, winning the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America. Trainer Neil Pessin is skipping the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and will run in Churchill Downs’ $300,000 Dream Supreme):

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021) – Thoroughbred racing in Kentucky shifts from Keeneland to Churchill Downs on Sunday as the home of the Kentucky Derby readies to open its 132nd Fall Meet with an 11-race program – all for promising 2-year-old Thoroughbreds – at 1 p.m. (all times Eastern).

The 21-day stand covers a four-week stretch every Wednesday-Sunday through Nov. 28.

The Fall Meet kicks off in style Sunday with the 17th 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 (Grade I) and Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI).

Sunday’s 11-race opening day card is headlined by the ninth runnings of two 1 1/16 miles, $200,000 stakes – the open-company Street Sense and Rags to Riches for fillies. Those races serve as local steppingstones to the two Grade II, $400,000, 1 1/16-mile counterparts on the Saturday, Nov. 27 “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).

Inaugurated in 2005, Churchill Downs’ “Stars of Tomorrow” programs 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 winner Creator (2016) as well as 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic and 2013 Stephen Foster hero Fort Larned and 2013 champion 3-year-old Will Take Charge.

Last year’s class of participants include graded stakes winners Army Wife (GII Black-Eyed Susan and GIII Iowa Oaks), Clairiere (GI Cotillion and GII Rachel Alexandra), King Fury (GIII Lexington), Mandaloun(GII Risen Star and GI Haskell), Super Stock (GI Arkansas Derby), Travel Column (GII Fair Grounds Oaks) and Will’s Secret (GIII Honeybee).

Horsemen will compete for $22.2 million (all purses include prize money from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund) offered in Vice President of Racing Ben Huffman’s Fall Meet condition book, including an 11-race stakes schedule cumulatively worth $3.75 million.

The stakes schedule is anchored by the 147th running of the $750,000 Clark presented by Norton Healthcare (GI). Midnight Bourbon (12-2-5-3—$1,094,920), the Preakness (GI), Travers (GI) and Pennsylvania Derby (GI) runner-up, and Alysheba (GII) and Stephen Foster (GII) winner Maxfield (10-7-2-1—$1,550,902) are among the top 3-year-olds and up targeting the 1 1/8-mile test on Friday, Nov. 26.

The Clark is one of six stakes events to be contested over Thanksgiving weekend. Bonny South (13-4-5-1—$866,150), this year’s Doubledogdare (GIII) winner who was runner-up in the Ogden Phipps (GI) and Personal Ensign (GI), hopes to add the $500,000 Falls City (GII) to her résumé on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25 after running second to Envoutante (15-5-2-4—$626,138) in the 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares last year.

Bell’s the One (21-10-4-2—$1,336,825), winner of this year’s Roxelana, Honorable Miss (GII) and Thoroughbred Club of America (GII), is bypassing a run in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (GI) in favor of the $300,000 Dream Supreme for fillies and mares on Saturday, Nov. 13. Local rival Sconsin (15-5-4-1—$783,362), winner of the Winning Colors (GIII) and Open Mind, also is targeting the six-furlong race.

Each of the 222 scheduled races during the Fall Meet will be run on the main dirt track. Sod for a new and more robust $10 million turf course – widened to 85 feet with banking in the turns which allow four racing lanes that range from 0 to 36 feet out and as many as 14 participants per race – was laid in October. There will be no turf racing during the Fall Meet to allow the roots of the Tahoma 31 Bermudagrass overseeded with ryegrass to grow effectively and take hold. Turf racing will resume at the start of the 2022 Spring Meet.

Fall Meet 11-race Stakes Schedule Totals $3.75 Million

Date Running Grade Purse Race Conditions Distance Surface
Sunday, Oct. 31 9th $200,000 Street Sense 2yo 1 1/16 M Dirt
Sunday, Oct. 31 9th $200,000 Rags to Riches 2yo f 1 1/16 M Dirt
Saturday, Nov. 6 13th $300,000 Bet On Sunshine 3&up 6 F Dirt
Saturday, Nov. 13 16th $300,000 Dream Supreme 3&up, f&m 6 F Dirt
Saturday, Nov. 20 36th III $300,000 Chilukki 3&up, f&m 1 M Dirt
Thursday, Nov. 25 106th II $500,000 Falls City 3&up, f&m 1 1/8 M Dirt
Friday, Nov. 26 147th I $750,000 Clark presented by Norton Healthcare 3&up 1 1/8 M Dirt
Saturday, Nov. 27 95th II $400,000 Kentucky Jockey Club 2yo 1 1/16 M Dirt
Saturday, Nov. 27 78th II $400,000 Golden Rod 2yo f 1 1/16 M Dirt
Saturday, Nov. 27 1st $200,000 Lively Shively 2yo 6 ½ F Dirt
Saturday, Nov. 27 1st $200,000 Fern Creek 2yo f 6 ½ F Dirt


* All purses include prize money from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund

Gaffalione, Maker, Three Diamonds Farms Defend Fall Titles

Tyler Gaffalione, who won his fifth consecutive Churchill Downs riding title and sixth local crown with 16 wins during the September Meet, had the hot hand during last year’s Fall Meet with 41 wins, 14 more than runner-up Ricardo Santana Jr.’s 27.

In addition to Gaffalione ($15.3 million) and Santana ($15.7 million), this year’s jockey colony includes Top 100 national earnings leaders Florent Geroux ($16.0 million), Brian Hernandez Jr. ($9.0 million), Adam Beschizza ($6.9 million), James Graham ($6.5 million), Julien Leparoux ($5.3 million), Corey Lanerie ($4.9 million), Marcelino Pedroza Jr. ($4.8 million), Joe Talamo ($4.8 million), Colby Hernandez ($4.7 million), Francisco Arrieta ($4.5 million), Mitchell Murrill ($4.1 million), Rafael Bejarano ($4.1 million), Martin Garcia ($3.7 million), Reylu Gutierrez ($3.4 million), Chris Landeros ($2.9 million), Miguel Mena ($2.8 million), David Cohen ($2.8 million) and Gerardo Corrales ($2.5 million). 

Mike Maker, a seven-time Churchill Downs leading trainer, won his fifth Fall Meet training title last year with 21 wins, five more than Steve Asmussen, a 24-time local leading trainer and the track and sport’s all-time win leader.

Joining Maker ($12.5 million) and Asmussen (leading $25.9 million) with horses stabled at Churchill Downs are Top 100 national earnings leaders Brad Cox ($24.4 million), Mark Casse ($12.2 million), Bill Mott($9.9 million), Brendan Walsh ($5.9 million), Robertino Diodoro ($5.9 million), Bret Calhoun ($5.3 million), Michael McCarthy ($4.9 million), Kenny McPeek ($4.8 million), Shug McGaughey ($4.3 million), Tom Amoss ($3.7 million), Joe Sharp ($3.6 million), Dallas Stewart ($3.4 million), Ian Wilkes ($3.2 million), Rusty Arnold ($3.0 million), Brian Lynch ($3.0 million), Al Stall Jr. ($2.9 million), Greg Foley ($2.5 million),Ron Moquett ($2.0 million), Chris Hartman ($2.0 million), Cherie DeVaux ($1.9 million), John Ortiz ($1.8 million), Mike Lauer ($1.7 million), Dale Romans ($1.6 million), Wayne Catalano ($1.6 million) and Michelle Lovell ($1.5 million).

Last fall’s leading owner was Kirk Wycoff’s Three Diamonds Farm with six wins, one more than Brad Kelley’s Calumet Farm and two ahead of 33-time local leaders Ken and Sarah Ramsey and Peter Proscia’s Paradise Farms Corp. and David Studacher.

Trick-or-Treat at the Track at Family Adventure Day on Sunday

Sunday’s opener coincides with Halloween and Churchill Downs will present Trick-or-Treat at the Track at Family Adventure Day presented by Kroger.

Kids 12 and under are encouraged to wear costumes and trick-or-treat at more than 15 “Trick-or-Treat Boo Stations” throughout the first floor of the racetrack on Halloween as Churchill Downs and community partners hand out candy between 12-4 p.m. Additionally, families are invited to take home a free pumpkin for their Halloween jack-o-lantern from a pumpkin patch at Churchill Downs.

There will be more than 20 activities for children to enjoy including face painting (1-3:30 p.m.), the Honey Hill petting zoo, bubble station, video game truck, pumpkin decorating, bounce houses, inflatables games, an obstacle course and games such as pumpkin bowling, cornhole, giant Jenga, giant Connect 4 pony rides and snookball.

Tickets are $10 for wristbands to participate for ages 3 and up and can be purchased online at www.churchilldowns.com. “Buy Four, Save $4” ticket packages also are available.

Ideal Fall Weather: Mostly Sunny Skies, 62

Opening day weather in Louisville will be mostly sunny with a high near 62, according to a forecast from the National Weather Service.

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 and Tuesdays. Most race days feature 10 live races. There will be 11 on Sunday’s opener plus a trio of Saturdays: Nov. 6, 13 and 20. Twelve-race cards are scheduled over the final four days, Nov. 25-28.

Post time will be 1 p.m. (all times Eastern) on most racing days with admission gates open at 11:30 a.m. Churchill Downs will have special post times on Friday, Nov. 5 (2 p.m.) and Saturday, Nov. 6 (1:45 p.m.) so the races coincide but don’t overlap with a simulcast of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships from Del Mar. Admission gates will open at 12:30 p.m. both days.

There will be an early 11:30 a.m. start (gates 10 a.m.) on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 25) – a Louisville tradition at Churchill Downs since 1969 where more than 7,000 turkey dinners are served with all the trimmings, making it the largest number anywhere in the region.

Watch and Wager on the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs will simulcast the Breeders’ Cup World Championships from Del Mar on Friday, Nov. 5 and Saturday, Nov. 6. The first race from Churchill Downs those days is 2 p.m. and 1:45 p.m., respectively.

A simulcast of the 10-race “Future Stars Friday” card from Del Mar will begin at 2:55 p.m. and the Breeders’ Cup will cover Races 6-10 (5:50-8:30 p.m.). Championship Saturday’s 12-race program at Del Mar will commence at 1:15 p.m. with the Breeders’ Cup on Races 4-12 (Breeders’ Cup starts at 3:05 p.m.). It will culminate with the $6 million Longines Classic (GI) at 8:40 p.m.

Several horses currently stabled at Churchill Downs are expected to compete in the Breeders’ Cup, led by the Brad Cox-trained duo of Knicks Go (23-9-3-1—$5,553,135) and Essential Quality (9-8-0-0—$4,215,144) in the Classic 

Special Fall Meet Events Include Calendar Giveaway

Other special events during the Fall Meet include a free 2022 Churchill Downs Calendar sponsored by Humana to the first 5,000 guests in attendance on Saturday, Nov. 13. The colorful calendar features major event listings and vivid and memorable images from the Kentucky Derby and around the historic racetrack.

Other events: Senior Days with a discounted $24 ticket to Millionaires Row for seniors age 60 and up on Thursday, Nov. 4 and Wednesday, Nov. 17; Military Appreciation Day with free admission or a discounted $29 ticket to Skye Terrace for active and retired members of the U.S. armed services on Sunday, Nov. 7; First Responders Day with free admission or a discounted $29 ticket to Millionaires Row for active first responders on Sunday, Nov. 14; and Sunday Brunch in the Stakes Room ($48 for adults and $25 for children) every Sunday.

Betting Menu Features 20-Cent Derby City 6

The Fall Meet betting menu will be the same as recent meets and includes the 20-cent minimum “Derby City 6” jackpot, which is offered on the last six races each day with a low 15-percent takeout. The Derby City 6 jackpot will be paid 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, and the remaining 10 percent will carry to the Derby City 6 jackpot. If there are no tickets will all six winners, 100 percent of the pool will carry to the Derby City 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 statutes for minimum field size) and the $1 Super Hi-5 will once again be offered in the last race.

Kentucky Derby Future Wagers Return on Closing Weekend

The first pools of the 2022 Kentucky Derby Future Wager will be offered Nov. 25-28. 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. 21-23 (Pool 2), Feb. 11-13(Pool 3), March 11-13 (Pool 4) and March 31-April 2 (Pool 5). The lone Kentucky Oaks Future Wager will coincide with Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 on March 11-13. 

General Admission, Reserved Seating Options

General admission to Churchill Downs is $5 ($7 on Nov. 5-6 and Nov. 26-27). Reserved box seats are $12; indoor dining options are $39 ($49 on Nov. 5-6 and Nov. 26-27; $57 on Thanksgiving Day). Children under age 2 are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets or by calling (502) 636-4400. Face coverings for guests is recommended for all indoor areas. Free first-come, first-serve parking is available to guests in the parking lots off Kentucky Derby Drive.

Construction on Homestretch Club Continues

Construction continues on the new Homestretch Club, which will renovate and update the grandstand area in the former sections 120-123 and 220-223. The capital project will deliver 30 Trackside Lounges, 66 Terraced Dining Tables, 2,610 Stadium Club seats, five private VIP Hospitality Lounges and 18,600 sq. ft. of new interior premium hospitality space with air conditioning, a 100 ft. bar and a grand staircase. The project will provide 3,250 all-inclusive seats for the 2022 Kentucky Derby.

Racing Televised on ‘America’s Day at the Races’; Download Churchill Downs LIVE App

The racing action from Churchill Downs throughout the Fall Meet will be broadcast on FOX Sports’ “America’s Day at the Races,” which will air most race days on either FS2 or FS1. 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 opening day program from Churchill Downs will air on FS1 from 12:30-4 p.m. and FS2 from 4-6 p.m.

Select races and race days are unable to be televised because of broadcast conflicts. Fans of Churchill Downs racing are encouraged to download the Churchill Downs LIVE app.

The Churchill Downs LIVE app is available free of charge on streaming services such as Amazon, Apple TV and Roku. Fans can download the Churchill Downs LIVE app for full access to a free HD live stream of the Churchill Downs simulcast signal and three additional angles including the Saddling Paddock.

Odds and Ends

Travis Stone, the voice of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby since 2015, will describe the racing action throughout the Fall Meet for his 21st meet adjacent to the Twin Spires. Veteran odds maker Mike Battaglia has morning line odds duty for the 47th 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 Scott Shapiro, James Scully 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 online at www.TwinSpires.com. Also, Churchill Downs Today will be streamed live on Twitter via @ChurchillDowns and YouTube.com/ChurchillDowns, and is available on the Churchill Downs LIVE app.

Also, horseplayers can visit www.churchilldowns.com/racing-handicapping/handicapping/expert-picks for Brisnet past performances along with daily expert selections from Joe Kristufek and Scott Shapiro of TwinSpires.com and several other handicapping tips.

‘Inside Churchill Downs’ Airs Fridays 6-7 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7

“Inside Churchill Downs,” the weekly horse racing radio show co-hosted by Churchill Downs Racetrack’s Kevin Kerstein, Darren Rogers and Scott Shapiro, airs Fridays at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN 680/105.7 through Nov. 19.

The one-hour Friday night program on Louisville’s popular sports radio station has delivered a wide-ranging list of interesting guests – from jockeys, trainers, owners to well-informed handicappers and other industry insiders – since 2015.

Those outside the Louisville radio market can listen live online at www.ESPNLouisville.com or via podcast on the station’s website.

Only three shows remain in 2021: Oct. 29, Nov. 12 and Nov. 19. There will be no program on Nov. 5 because of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships simulcast.

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Jennie Rees