With memories of sensational performances, beautiful weather and world-class entertainment still fresh, the Maryland Jockey Club has put together a schedule of 42 stakes worth $4.275 million in purses to carry the momentum of a record-setting Preakness weekend through the end of 2019.
War of Will captured the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) on a 14-race program May 18 that established an all-time total handle record of $99.852 million, while Point of Honor took the 95th Xpressbet Black-Eyed Susan (G2) May 17 on a day that produced record attendance (51,573) and total handle ($22.281 million) figures.
Following the Preakness Meet at Pimlico, which concludes with a special Memorial Day program Monday, May 27, 13 stakes worth $1.1 million will be offered during Laurel Park's summer stand which runs May 31 to Aug. 18.
“We're always excited about the summer and fall racing seasons, the competitive fields, and running on our world-class turf course,” said Maryland Jockey Club President and General Manager Sal Sinatra. “Once again we have some big weekends planned, some great events, and an innovative stakes schedule which we believe will attract some of the country's top horses and horsemen.”
Four stakes will be contested Sunday, June 16 – the Alma North for 3-year-old fillies and Polynesian for 3-year-olds and up, both at seven furlongs and each with a $25,000 purse boost to $100,000, and a pair of new additions to the menu in the $100,000 Big Dreyfus for fillies and mares 3 and up and $100,000 Prince George's County for 3-year-olds and up, each at 1 1/16 miles on Laurel's world-class turf course.
Sunday, July 14 will feature five stakes worth $400,000 in purses led by the $100,000 Stormy Blues, a 5 ½-furlong turf sprint for 3-year-old fillies. Summer meet stakes action concludes Saturday, Aug. 17 with four $75,000 stakes for Maryland-bred/sired horses – the Star de Naskra for 3-year-olds and Miss Disco for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs on dirt, and the Find and All Brandy for 3-year-olds and up, the latter for females, going 1 1/16 miles on the grass.
Once again, Laurel Park will serve up a 'September to Remember' to open the calendar-year ending fall meet that begins Friday, Sept. 6. The first of two Super Saturdays during the month comes Sept. 21 with eight stakes worth $1.2 million in purses, highlighted by the $250,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs and the $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3), a one-mile test for 3-year-olds and up.
Also on the Sept. 21 card are the Laurel Futurity for 2-year-olds and Selima Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, each having their purse doubled to $200,000 and distance stretched from six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles on the grass; the second running of the $150,000 Bald Eagle Derby for sophomores at 1 ½ miles on turf; and the debut of the $100,000 Weathervane Stakes for 3-year-old fillies sprinting six furlongs on the main track.
The Saturday, Sept. 28 program will feature six stakes worth $600,000 topped by the $150,000 All Along at 1 1/16 miles on grass for fillies and mares 3 and up. New to the stakes schedule are the $100,000 Anne Arundel County for 2-year-old fillies and $100,000 Howard County for 2-year-olds, both 5 ½-furlong turf sprints.
After Laurel plays host to the 34th annual Maryland Million program Saturday, Oct. 19, it will have six $100,000 stakes in November starting with the James F. Lewis III and Smart Halo for juveniles Saturday, Nov. 16. Sophomores will be featured in the City of Laurel and Safely Kept Saturday, Nov. 30, along with older horses in the Thirty Eight Go Go for females at about 1 1/16 miles and the Richard W. Small at 1 1/8 miles.
Nine stakes worth $775,000 in purses are on tap in December, four of them for Maryland-bred/sired horses Saturday, Dec. 7 topped by the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity and $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship. The 2019 stakes calendar wraps up Saturday, Dec. 28 with five $100,000 stakes – the Dave's Friend at six furlongs and Native Dancer at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds and up; the Heft for 2-year-olds and Gin Talking for 2-year-old fillies at seven furlongs; and the Willa On the Move for fillies and mares 3 and up going six furlongs.
All turf stakes for the remainder of 2019 will have a nomination fee of $100.
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