Edited press release
Del Mar's richest and deepest stakes program will feature 30 races worth $7,150,000 during its 67th summer racing season from July 19-Sept. 6.
The stakes schedule is highlighted by four major purse increases, a new race for California breds, and a name change for one of the track's top events.
Del Mar's roster is topped by the track's premier event, the $1,000,000 Pacific Classic (gr. I) Aug. 20. The headliner for 3-year-olds and up will be run for the 16th time at a mile and a quarter.
Chief among the stakes purse enhancements is the $100,000 addition to the Aug. 19 Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT), pushing the purse for the nine-furlong turf test for 3-year-old fillies to $400,000. Other additions include $50,000 supplements to the San Diego Handicap (gr. II) July 22, making that race worth $300,000, and to the Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares Aug. 18, making it worth $200,000. The final purse addition also comes with a name change: The Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap has been renamed the Del Mar Breeders' Cup Mile and will carry an extra $50,000 in purse money this year giving it a value of $400,000. The grade II feature, switched to turf for the first time last season, will be run Aug. 26.
Also, Tom Robbins, Del Mar's vice president/racing and racing secretary, has crafted a new event for state-bred runners. The 3-year-old and up attraction will be called the California Dreamin' Handicap and be presented at a mile and one-sixteenth on the turf Aug. 4 for a purse of $125,000.
In addition to the track's 30 advertised stakes events, there also will be a dozen overnight stakes interspersed throughout the summer, each with an enhanced value for 2006. Last year the track's overnights carried $75,000 purses. This year they will be worth $85,000 each.
"We've got something for just about everyone," Robbins said. "I think our horsemen and our fans are going to be tickled with what we have to offer."
All told, 19 of the track's 30 major stakes are graded. There are six grade I races, 11 grade II races, and two grade III races. Besides the Pacific Classic and the Del Mar Oaks, the other grade I races on the roster are: the $400,000 John C. Mabee Handicap for fillies and mares July 22; the $400,000 Eddie Read Handicap for 3-year-olds and up on turf July 23; the $300,000 Bing Crosby Handicap for 3-year-olds and up July 30; and the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante for 2-year-old fillies Sept. 4.
Opening the meet July 19 will be the Oceanside Stakes. Closing the season Sept. 6 will be the traditional finale, the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II). It will be the 60th running of the Oceanside and the 59th edition of the Futurity. Other seasonal highlights include the Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. II) Aug. 6; the Pat O'Brien B.C. Handicap (gr. II) Aug.20; the Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) Aug. 27; and the $400,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) Sept. 3.