The on-again-off-again Pimlico Special (gr. I) is off again for this year, according to a stakes schedule released by the Maryland Jockey Club March 16.
MJC officials in a release said the Pimlico Special, as well as the Allaire du Pont Distaff (gr. II), won’t be run this year because of a “purse shortage.” The Special, for 3-year-olds and up, has been put on hiatus four times in the past nine years for similar reasons.
The Special wasn’t run last year, either, meaning it will lose its grade under American Graded Stakes Committee rules.
Maryland racing has yet to see revenue from slot machines, which were authorized by voters in 2008. The first two slots parlors are expected to open later this year; horse racing could get up to $100 million a year in revenue should all five parlors become operational.
The Maryland Racing Commission approved the 2010 Pimlico spring meet stakes schedule March 16 after the MJC and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association signed off on it. The 20-day meet, which runs from April 17-May 22, will feature 18 stakes worth a total of $2.435 million.
The $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I), second leg of the Triple Crown, is the highlight of the meet. It will be held May 15, ending a week of racing that will feature 15 stakes worth a total of $2.2 million.
“It is important to keep the stakes schedule strong during Preakness weekend, when some of the nation’s finest Thoroughbreds come to town,” MJC president and chief executive officer Tom Chuckas said in a statement. “We have tried hard to recruit grade I winners to run in the Special. Unfortunately, a $250,000 purse is just not good enough to persuade connections, so we have decided to suspend the race this year.”
In another change to the stakes schedule, the Woodlawn Stakes has been renamed the James W. Murphy Stakes. Murphy, who saddled nearly 1,400 winners for earnings of more than $24 million, died in June 2009.
First post time for 17 days of the meet will be 1:10 p.m. EDT, with adjustments on May 1 (12:45 p.m.), May 14 (12:15), and May 15 (10:45 a.m.). The Pimlico stable area will be open for training from April 10-May 31; the Laurel Park winter meet ends April 10.