It's not quite the $5 million VISA Triple Crown, but in 2003, 3-year-old fillies will have a series of their own that offers a $2 million bonus. The New York Racing Association will award the bonus to any horse who can sweep the Mother Goose Stakes, Coaching Club American Oaks, and the Alabama Stakes, or a new Triple Tiara. In this series, the Alabama Stakes replaces the Acorn in that triple. All three races are grade I events run at NYRA tracks.
The Mother Goose will be run on Saturday, June 28 at Belmont Park. The nine-furlong race will have its purse increased from $250,000 to $300,000 and will be televised nationally on CBS.
The Coaching Club American Oaks will be contested at 1 1/2 miles on Saturday, July 19 at Belmont Park. The purse has been increased from $350,000 to $500,000. The $750,000, 10-furlong Alabama Stakes will be run at Saratoga on Saturday, August 16 and televised on ESPN.
"Three-year-old fillies compete in the shadow of their male counterparts and we think they deserve more appreciation than that," said NYRA Chairman and CEO Barry K. Schwartz. "This is a great opportunity for them to earn both money and recognition. It is also part of our strategy to ensure the highest caliber of racing possible at our tracks for our fans.
"Winning all three races is a very difficult challenge and one that deserves a significant reward," said Schwartz. "We believe ultimately that this will become the filly counterpart to the Triple Crown."
In the past, four fillies have won all three of the races involved - Shuvee (1969), Mom's Command (1985), Open Mind (1989) and Sky Beauty (1993). NYRA's complete stakes schedule is expected to be released on Dec. 12.
The New "Triple Tiara" at a glance:Date, Race, Track, Distance, Purse
June 28, Mother Goose, Belmont, 9 furlongs, $300,000
July 19, CCA Oaks, Belmont, 12 furlongs, $500,000
Aug. 16, Alabama, Saratoga, 10 furlongs, $750,000