LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/Keeneland) – Keeneland has announced that William and Donna Shively’s Dixiana Farm is the new sponsor of the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1), the Fall Meet’s prestigious invitational turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
The 37th running of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Dixiana will be held Oct. 10 on the second Saturday of the Fall Meet.
“Keeneland is pleased that Dixiana has become the sponsor of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “Dixiana has been a valued corporate partner through its sponsorship of other stakes at Keeneland, and the Shivelys are enthusiastic participants in our racing and sales. We are thrilled with Dixiana’s new association with such a highly regarded international event as the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.”
Dixiana is a 700-acre Thoroughbred breeding and racing operation in Lexington that dates from 1877 when it was established by Major Barack G. Thomas, considered one of the first to make a living by breeding and selling racehorses.
The Shivelys purchased Dixiana in 2004 and have restored the farm while cultivating its rich legacy.
“Dixiana and Keeneland both play an iconic role in the Bluegrass and the horse industry, and we are natural partners in promoting the very best in Thoroughbred racing and breeding,” Bill Shively said. “As longtime Keeneland race sponsors, Donna and I are very excited about the opportunity to support this premier Grade 1 event.”
The Challenge Cup honors Queen Elizabeth II, an astute thoroughbred breeder and owner who attended the races at Keeneland on Oct. 11, 1984, during her private six-day visit to Central Kentucky.
That day, she watched a mock thoroughbred sale in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion, met members of the jockey colony and presented a trophy to the connections of the first winner of her namesake race, Cherry Valley Farm’s Sintra, who was ridden by Keith Allen for trainer Steven Penrod.
Each year, Keeneland invites accomplished fillies from the U.S. and beyond to compete in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.
Winners of the 1 1/8-mile race include champion Perfect Sting and millionaires Affluent, Dayatthespa, Film Maker, Memories of Silver, Riskaverse, Rushing Fall, Ryafan, Sweet Talker, Ticker Tape (GB) and Vacare.
Last year, The Queen’s Magnetic Charm (GB) competed in the race.
Keeneland’s 2020 Fall Meet offers 17 days of racing from Oct. 2-24. On Nov. 6-7, Keeneland will host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for the second time.