The Maryland Jockey Club has released the 2011 Pimlico spring stakes schedule that consists of 22 stakes worth a total of $2.9 million. The schedule has been approved by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Horse Breeders Association and is subject to approval by the Maryland Racing Commission during its Feb. 15 meeting at Laurel Park.
Highlighting the schedule is the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the second jewel of the Triple Crown that will have its 136th renewal on May 21, closing day of the 29-day meet that begins April 1.
MJC has scheduled 16 stakes worth nearly $2.5 million for Preakness weekend, including the May 20 Black Eyed Susan (gr. II), the race for 3-year-old fillies that has been increased in value to $250,000 this year. The May 20 card features seven stakes races, six for fillies and mares.
Preakness day will have nine added money races, including six graded events, and features the return of the Allaire duPont Distaff (gr. III), which was put on a one-year hiatus due to a purse shortage a year ago.
“Having a strong stakes schedule during the Pimlico meet is vital for our success,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said in a release. “The Preakness weekend experience is strengthened with the return of the Distaff and the purse increase for the Black-Eyed Susan. We are working hard to increase the profile of the entire week, not just focusing on the third Saturday in May.”
First post for 26 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 (May 7, 12:45 p.m.) days.
The Pimlico stable area will be open for training from Mar. 21 through May 28.
The current Laurel Park winter meeting will conclude its 12-week run on Saturday, Mar. 26.