The Maryland Jockey Club has upped the purse for this year's Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) at Pimlico Race Course to $500,000 from $300,000 as part of a spring meet stakes schedule approved by the Maryland Racing Commission Feb. 19.
The track's signature event, the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), remains at $1 million. The 138th running of the Preakness is scheduled for May 18, a day after the Black-Eyed Susan.
Pimlico will feature 21 open stakes for $3.775 million, an increase of $625,000. There will be additional Maryland-bred stakes and Maryland-bred bonuses to some of the existing stakes, which will boost the final figure to more than $4 million for the 36-day meet.
The Preakness undercard features seven other stakes including four graded stakes. Purses for the Maryland Sprint Handicap (gr. III) and the Allaire duPont Stakes (gr. III) have been increased from $100,000 to $150,000.
The May 17 card features seven stakes, five for fillies and mares, highlighted by the Black-Eyed Susan. The Black-Eyed Susan card also includes the $300,000 Pimlico Special (gr. III).
"Having a strong stakes schedule on Preakness weekend is important," MJC president Tom Chuckas said. "We are working hard to increase the profile of the Preakness eve card. Increasing the purse of the Black-Eyed Susan by $200,000 is the first step in that direction.
"In addition, purses on overnight races during the meet will be raised 10%-15% across the board, which should lead to larger fields and more wagering."
In addition to the Black-Eyed Susan, Maryland Sprint, and Allaire duPont increases, the other modifications to the stakes schedule are $25,000 purse increases for the Dahlia, Henry Clark, Primonetta, and Canonero II Stakes, and the return of the $75,000 Federico Tesio Stakes (last run in 2011), the $75,000 Rollicking Stakes (last run in 2005), and $75,000 Stormy Blues Handicap (last run in 2001)
The Pimlico spring meet will begin April 4 with live racing four days a week on a Thursday-through- Sunday schedule prior to Preakness, and then Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (plus Memorial Day). The meet will end June 8, Belmont Stakes (gr. I) day.
The Pimlico stable area will be open for training from March 18 through June 10. The current Laurel Park meet will conclude its 13-week run March 30.