Sinatra said he had speculated that the Pennsylvania Derby "could" carry a purse of $2 million by 2008, but by no means said it was official. He said his comments were misunderstood by a local newspaper.
Philadelphia Park will increase the purse of its signature event for 3-year-old fillies, the grade II Cotillion Stakes, from $300,000 to $500,000 and offer a bonus as well."We boosted (the purse) to $400,000, and we have another $100,000 in Breeders' Cup funds," Philly Park director of racing Sal Sinatra said.Sinatra said a new feature for the 1 1/16-mile Cotillion, which is set for Oct. 7 this year, is a $250,000 bonus to any filly that can win the Cotillion and the $2-million Emirate Airlines Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) three weeks later."We already know it can be done--Ashado did it two years ago," Sinatra said. The Cotillion has often lost top fillies to other graded stakes the same weekend, so the bonus may be one way of luring them to Philadelphia Park, he said.In other news, Sinatra called a recent published report that the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II), currently a $750,000 event for 3-year-olds, would be increased to $2 million in 2008 "extremely premature.""We know that our purses and stakes will eventually receive increases due to slot-machine revenue," Sinatra said, "but whether the increases will be in 2008 or 2009, and how much they will be, is difficult to say right now."