The Maryland Jockey Club announced today a total of 38 stakes, 11 graded, worth $6.325 million in purses scheduled through mid-May 2020 at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, highlighted by the 145th running of the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, May 16.
The 1 3/16-mile Preakness for 3-year-olds at Pimlico will anchor a blockbuster program of 10 stakes worth $2.75 million on the third Saturday in May that includes the $250,000 Dixie (G2), $200,000 Chick Lang (G3), $150,000 Gallorette (G3) and $150,000 Maryland Sprint (G3).
Should either race be promoted to Grade 2 status for 2020 by the Graded Stakes Committee, the Chick Lang for 3-year-olds sprinting six furlongs would see its purse increased to $250,000, while the Gallorette for fillies and mares 3 and up going 1 1/16 miles on grass would get a purse boost to $200,000.
Maryland's traditional hometown Preakness prep, the 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio Saturday, April 18, got a $75,000 purse boost to $200,000 and remains a 'Win and In' event for Triple Crown-nominated horses to the Preakness. The $125,000 Weber City Miss at 1 1/16 miles will once again be a 'Win and In' race for the Black-Eyed Susan.
“We feel we have adjusted and improved our stakes schedule for the first half of 2020,” said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. “We've increased the purse of the Tesio, a 'Win and In' for the 145th Preakness, to $200,000 and we've given horsemen some additional incentives to run the weekend of the Preakness. We're also hopeful that the Chick Lang and Gallorette will be upgraded and add to the excitement of Preakness weekend.”
The $100,000 Skipat for females 3 and older sprinting six furlongs was moved from its spot on the Black-Eyed Susan Day program to join the Preakness undercard stakes roster along with the $100,000 Sir Barton for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles and a trio of turf stakes – the $100,000 James W. Murphy for 3-year-olds going one mile and $100,000 The Very One at five furlongs and $100,000 Searching at 1 ½ miles, both for fillies and mares 3 and up.
Friday, May 15 features the 96th running of the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles, topping a card of seven stakes, four graded, worth $1.15 million in purses. It is joined by the historic $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3) for 3-year-olds and up and four other stakes for females – the $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3), $150,000 Allaire duPont Distaff (G3), $100,000 Hilltop and inaugural $100,000 Milkmaid, the latter at 1 1/16 miles for non-winners of an open sweepstakes.
On both Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan days, horses that remain in to run on dirt for any stakes race that is taken off the turf will have their entry and starting fees waived.
Laurel Park's richest weekend of action comes in mid-April, a collection of eight stakes worth $875,000 in purses kicked off Friday, April 17 by a pair of Maryland-bred/sired events shifted from their previous March spots on the calendar – the $75,000 Conniver for fillies and mares and $75,000 Not For Love, both sprinting seven furlongs.
Along with the Tesio and Weber City on April 18, other stakes run that day are the $100,000 Maryland Racing Media at 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares 3 and up, run this year in February; $100,000 Henry S. Clark for 3-year-olds and up and $100,000 Dahlia for females 3 and older, both going a mile on Laurel's world-class turf course; and $100,000 King T. Leatherbury for 3-year-olds and up sprinting 5 ½ furlongs on the grass. The Leatherbury and Dahlia will both help launch the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series for 2020.
Maryland's 2020 stakes schedule opens Jan. 18 at Laurel with four stakes for 4-year-olds and up worth $350,000 in purses led by the $100,000 Fire Plug and $100,000 What a Summer, the latter for fillies and mares, both lengthened from six to 6 ½ furlongs. Also on the card will be two $75,000 stakes for Maryland-bred/sired horses going one mile, the Geisha for females and Jennings.
Five stakes worth $800,000 in purses are on tap Saturday, Feb. 15 highlighted by the $250,000 General George (G3) for 4-year-olds and up and $250,000 Barbara Fritchie (G3) for fillies and mares 4 and older, each going seven furlongs. They are joined on the card by a pair of $100,000 stakes for sophomores – the Wide Country for fillies and Miracle Wood – and $100,000 John B. Campbell for older horses, shortened from 1 1/8 miles to 1 1/16 miles.
Saturday, March 14 will feature a quartet of $100,000 stakes led by the Private Terms for 3-year-olds and Beyond the Wire for 3-year-old fillies, each at one mile. For older horses, there are the one-mile Nellie Morse for fillies and mares and 1 1/8-mile Harrison Johnson Memorial.
Laurel Park's current calendar year-ending 2019 fall meet runs through Sunday, Dec. 29 and is dark both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Dec. 24-25.
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