The regional off-track betting corporations in New York will sponsor the 2004 Big Apple Triple, which offers a $250,000 bonus for a horse that sweeps the three stakes.
The series, for New York-bred 3-year-olds, consists of the $100,000 Mike Lee Stakes June 26 at Belmont Park, the $150,000 New York Derby July 17 at Finger Lakes, and the $150,000 Albany Handicap Aug. 25 at Saratoga.
No horse has won the bonus since the races were combined into a summer series in 2000, nor has any horse won all three stakes in the previous 20 years the races were run. Any horse that can win all three races in the Big Apple Triple would earn well over $500,000, in addition to applicable breeding and stallion award bonuses.
The New York Derby purse is up $25,000 from 2003. Finger Lakes, which is ready to go online with video lottery terminals, has added some money to its stakes schedule this year.
Said Ray Casey, president of New York City Off-Track Betting Corp.: "Our industry in this great state must act to promote our sport, and races like these do just that and help celebrate what is great about the Big Apple--our state, our tracks, and our horses."