Churchill Downs to run 50 spring stakes exceeding $20.5M; Foster now $1M

Churchill Downs press release (Gwen Davis photo)

28 Stakes Races Receive Significant Boosts; Grade I Stephen Foster Now Worth $1 Million

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Friday, Feb. 3, 2023) – Led by the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) on Saturday, May 6, a record 50 stakes races that total $20.525 million will be staged at Churchill Downs Racetrack during the 44-day Spring Meet which spans April 29-July 3 (pending Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund final approval).

The record-breaking lineup features 28 stakes races that received significant boosts – including the Grade I Stephen Foster for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles which is now worth $1 million – and one new event, the $175,000 Chorleywood Overnight Stakes for 4-year-olds and up at 1 3/8 miles on turf on June 17.

Derby Week (April 29-May 6) kicks off the nine-week 149th Spring Meet with 22 stakes that total a record $13.125 million over the six-day stretch that culminates with the highlight of the annual racing calendar – the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby (GI) for 3-year-olds at 1 ¼ miles.

Nine of the 14 races on Kentucky Derby Day are stakes that total $7.65 million. In addition to the Derby, the first Saturday in May will showcase the $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (GI)$750,000 Churchill Downs presented by Ford (GI)$750,000 Derby City Distaff presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery (GI)$500,000 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GII)$500,000 Pat Day Mile (GII)$500,000 American Turf (GII)$500,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (GII); and $175,000 Knicks Go Overnight Stakes.

The Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic, which precedes the Derby, is the most lucrative of 22 stakes races scheduled to be run over the Matt Winn Turf Course. 

One day earlier, Churchill Downs will host the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) at 1 1/8 miles – the nation’s most lucrative race for 3-year-old fillies. The seven stakes that day total $4.2 million: the Oaks; $750,000 La Troienne (GI)$600,000 Alysheba presented by Sentient Jet (GII)$500,000 Eight Belles (GII)$500,000 Edgewood presented by Forcht Bank (GII)$300,000 Modesty (GIII); and $300,000 Unbridled Sidney presented by Sysco (Listed).

Derby Week stakes action that precedes Oaks and Derby days includes the $175,000 Roxelana Overnight Stakes on Opening Night, Saturday, April 29; $225,000 Mamzelle (Listed) and $175,000 Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes on Champions Day, Wednesday, May 3; $300,000 Opening Verse (Listed)$200,000 Kentucky Juvenile and $175,000 St. Matthews Overnight Stakes on Thurby, May 4.

Stephen Foster Preview Day is Saturday, June 3 with six stakes that total $1.35 million: the $225,000 Blame (GIII)$225,000 Shawnee (GIII)$225,000 Arlington (GIII)$225,000 Regret (GIII)$225,000 Aristides (Listed); and $225,000 Audubon (Listed).

The $1 million Stephen Foster, which has been elevated to Grade I status as it annually attracts some of the nation’s top older horses, is the centerpiece of an action-packed closing weekend. The 1 1/8-mile race anchors a six-race stakes bonanza that totals $2.475 million on Saturday, July 1, and includes the $400,000 Fleur de Lis (GII)$400,000 Wise Dan (GII)$225,000 American Derby (Listed)$225,000 Tepin; and $225,000 Kelly’s Landing (Listed)

The first condition book of scheduled races features $120,000 maiden races while allowance races range from $127,000 to $148,000. There also will be a $300 bonus awarded to trainers whose starters finish fourth through last in all non-stakes races.

Spring Meet stall applications are due Friday, March 3. Following its annual closure for wintertime renovations, the Churchill Downs stable area will reopen Tuesday, March 21. The first day of training on the main dirt track will be Friday, March 24.


Saturday, April 2913th $175,000Roxelana Overnight Stakes4&up, f&m6 FDirt
Wednesday, May 34thListed$225,000Mamzelle3yo f5 ½ FTurf
Wednesday, May 35th $175,000Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes4&up1 ½ MDirt
Thursday, May 418thListed$300,000Opening Verse4&up1 MTurf
Thursday, May 429th $200,000Kentucky Juvenile2yo5 FDirt
Thursday, May 42nd $175,000St. Matthews Overnight Stakes4&up6 FDirt
Friday, May 5149thI$1,250,000Longines Kentucky Oaks3yo f1 1/8 MDirt
Friday, May 538thI$750,000La Troienne4&up, f&m1 1/16 MDirt
Friday, May 520thII$600,000Alysheba presented by Sentient Jet4&up1 1/16 MDirt
Friday, May 568thII$500,000Eight Belles3yo f7 FDirt
Friday, May 539thII$500,000Edgewood presented by Forcht Bank3yo f1 1/16 MTurf
Friday, May 566thIII$300,000Modesty4&up, f&m1 1/8 MTurf
Friday, May 513thListed$300,000Unbridled Sidney presented by Sysco3&up, f&m5 ½ FTurf
Saturday, May 6149thI$3,000,000Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve3yo1 ¼ MDirt
Saturday, May 637thI$1,000,000Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic4&up1 1/8 MTurf
Saturday, May 688thI$750,000Churchill Downs presented by Ford4&up7 FDirt
Saturday, May 637thI$750,000Derby City Distaff presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery4&up, f&m7 FDirt
Saturday, May 638thII$500,000Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile4&up, f&m1 MTurf
Saturday, May 699thII$500,000Pat Day Mile3yo1 MDirt
Saturday, May 632nd II$500,000American Turf3yo1 1/16 MTurf
Saturday, May 629thII$500,000Twin Spires Turf Sprint3&up5 ½ FTurf
Saturday, May 62nd $175,000Knicks Go Overnight Stakes4&up1 MDirt
Saturday, May 138th Listed $225,000William Walker3yo5 ½ FTurf
Saturday, May 2086thIII$225,000Louisville4&up1 ½ MTurf
Saturday, May 2710thListed$225,000Keertana4&up, f&m1 ½ MTurf
Monday, May 2920thIII$225,000Winning Colors4&up, f&m6 FDirt
Saturday, June 34thIII$225,000Blame4&up1 1/8 MDirt
Saturday, June 34thIII$225,000Shawnee4&up, f&m1 1/16 MDirt
Saturday, June 387thIII$225,000Arlington4&up1 1/16 MTurf
Saturday, June 354thIII$225,000Regret3yo f1 1/8 MTurf
Saturday, June 335thListed$225,000Aristides4&up6 FDirt
Saturday, June 34thListed$225,000Audubon3yo1 1/8 MTurf
Sunday, June 447thIII$225,000Old Forester Mint Julep4&up, f&m1 1/16 MTurf
Saturday, June 107thListed$225,000Mighty Beau3&up5 FTurf
Sunday, June 1126thIII$400,000Matt Winn3yo1 1/16 MDirt
Sunday, June 112nd $175,000Leslie’s Lady Overnight Stakes3yo f7 FDirt
Saturday, June 172nd $175,000Monomoy Girl Overnight Stakes3yo f1 1/16 MDirt
Saturday, June 171st $175,000Chorleywood Overnight Stakes4&up1 3/8 MTurf
Saturday, June 2433rdIII$225,000Chicago4&up, f&m7 FDirt
Saturday, July 142ndI$1,000,000Stephen Foster4&up1 1/8 MDirt
Saturday, July 148thII$400,000Fleur de Lis4&up, f&m1 1/8 MDirt
Saturday, July 134thII$400,000Wise Dan4&up1 1/16 MTurf
Saturday, July 1108thListed$225,000American Derby3yo1 1/16 MTurf
Saturday, July 14th $225,000Tepin3yo f1 MTurf
Saturday, July 113thListed$225,000Kelly’s Landing3&up6 ½ FDirt
Sunday, July 22nd $175,000Anchorage Overnight Stakes4&up, f&m1 MTurf
Sunday, July 22nd $175,000Maxfield Overnight Stakes3yo7 FDirt
Monday, July 368thListed$275,000Hanshin presented by JRA4&up1 MDirt
Monday, July 3122ndListed$225,000Bashford Manor2yo6 FDirt
Monday, July 3122ndListed$225,000Debutante2yo f6 FDirt

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.