The Red Mile's Grand Circuit meet, regarded as the sport's "greatest two weeks of racing," will see new post times for the first week, along with the addition of new wagering outlets for its simulcast signal and a new "Racing Under Saddle" event.
With racing Thursday through Sunday, the Grand Circuit meet at the historic Lexington, Ky. oval begins Sept. 27 and continues through Oct. 7. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the first week, post time has been changed to 7 p.m., with an eye toward attracting wagering dollars from a new simulcasting agreement with Australia and New Zealand for those three nights.
During the second week of the meet--and on both Sundays--racing will revert to the traditional 1 p.m. post time. The famed Kentucky Futurity is scheduled for the closing day program on Sunday, Oct. 7.
One reason for the afternoon racing is to accommodate the start of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, which gets underway with evening sessions during week two. The other is to reach the trotting fans in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, who, like the fans Down Under, will have their first opportunity to wager on The Red Mile--theirs on both Sunday afternoons of the meet.
The Sunday programs will primarily feature trotting races, including a new Racing Under Saddle non-betting event planned for Sunday, Sept. 30. The race will be carded as an open trot.
According to Grand Circuit racing consultant Connie Hochstetler, nominations for the track's Grand Circuit stakes are up almost 18 percent overall, and a strong late closer schedule should help attract full fields and high-quality, competitive racing throughout the meet.
"We're excited by the response we're already getting from horsemen in regard to the fall meet," Hochstetler said. "We're in a nice spot on the racing calendar, and can provide great racing opportunities to stakes horses as they make their way to the Breeders Crown at Woodbine later in October," she added.
The track's summer meet begins Sunday, Aug. 5, and according to race secretary Billy Perkins, will provide a full schedule of races for 2 year olds and green 3 year olds to get them ready for the Grand Circuit meet and the late closers to come. Stall applications for the meet can be downloaded at www.theredmile.com.
Nominations for the track's Grand Circuit late closers will close Sept. 15 and will be advertised at a later date in the harness racing trade publications and websites. (Red Mile)