On Tuesday, the Maryland Jockey Club unveiled the 2010 Pimlico spring stakes schedule after reaching agreement with both the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Horse Breeders Association, as well as receiving approval from the Maryland Racing Commission.
The headline event of the six-week stand that begins Saturday, April 17 is the 135th running of the $1 million Preakness® Stakes (Grade I), the middle jewel of the famed Triple Crown, on May 15. The 20-day meeting at Old Hilltop will conclude on Saturday, May 22.
The marquee meet of the Maryland racing season will feature 18 stakes races for purses of $2,435,000. Preakness weekend features 15 stakes races for more than $2.2 million. The Friday, May 14 card features seven stakes races, six for fillies and mares, highlighted by the Grade II Black-Eyed Susan Stakes for three-year-old fillies. Preakness day will have eight added money races, including six graded events.
Unfortunately, the Grade I Pimlico Special and Grade II Allaire duPont Distaff have been put on a one-year hiatus due to a purse shortage. It is the fourth time in the last nine years the Pimlico Special has been cancelled for this reason. Tom Chuckas, Maryland Jockey Club president and chief operating officer stated, “We have tried hard to recruit Grade I winners to run in the Special,” added Chuckas. “Unfortunately a $250,000 purse is just not good enough to persuade connections, so we have decided to suspend the race this year.”
The other newsworthy change to the stakes schedule was renaming the Woodlawn Stakes to the James W. Murphy Stakes. Murphy, who saddled nearly 1,400 winners for earnings of more than $24 million, passed away last June. Murphy had a banner Preakness week in 1994, winning both the Pimlico Distaff and the Miss Preakness Stakes, with Double Sixes and Foolish Kisses respectively.
First post for 17 days of the meeting will be 1:10 p.m. with adjustments on Preakness (10:45 a.m.), Black-Eyed Susan (12:15 p.m.) and Kentucky Derby (12:45 p.m.) days. Live Racing will be conducted Thursday through Sunday.
Details on Preakness Week Festivities and Infield entertainment have yet to be released. Check www.preakness.com in the coming weeks.