LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Derby hopefuls will start their journeys Sunday toward returning to thoroughbred racing's marquee race when Churchill Downs' fall meet begins Sunday.
The 25-day program will race Wednesday to Sunday through Nov. 30. Highlighting Sunday's first of two Stars of Tomorrow cards are the Street Sense and Rags to Riches stakes, both $60,000 non-graded features.
Headlining the second Stars program on closing day are the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and Golden Rod Stakes for fillies, each $175,000-added features offering 10 points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Road to the Kentucky Oaks standings respectively.
Topping the meet's 13 stakes races (nine graded) totaling more than $1.8 million in combined purses is the $500,000 Grade 1 Clark Handicap for 3-year-olds and up on Nov. 29.
Several stakes races previously run during Churchill's fall meet, including the Grade 2 Pocahontas and Grade 3 Iroquois for 2-year-olds, were moved to the inaugural 12-day September meet.
This fall's card also spans five weeks as opposed to four last year, a schedule that track spokesman Darren Rogers said, "could increase the chances of top horses competing in the Breeders' Cup to also compete in the Clark and possibly determine the year-end championship."
The Breeders' Cup is Nov. 1-2 at Santa Anita Park in California.
Churchill's lone Downs After Dark event of this meet is Nov. 16 and features the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere for 3-year-old fillies on turf and the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf for 3-year-olds.
Other key stakes races include the Grade 2 Chilukki on Nov. 2; the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap on Nov. 9; the Grade 3 River City Handicap on Nov. 23; and the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap Nov. 28.
Sunday's feature races were named for 2007 Derby winner Street Sense and 2007 Belmont Stakes champion Rags to Riches, who debuted as juveniles at Churchill Downs.