Del Mar Announces '03 Stakes Schedule

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club released its 2003 stakes schedule, and for the third year in a row, will offer 27 added-money events. The 43-day stand -- opening July 23 and running through Sept. 10 -- will be the track's 64th season of Thoroughbred racing. All told, the 27 stakes will be worth $6,125,000.

Del Mar's signature event -- the $1,000,000 Pacific Classic -- will be run on Aug. 24. The grade I test for 3-year-olds and up is run at 1 1/4 miles.

This year's stakes program closely follows last season's schedule , though there is slightly more money this time around. The 50th edition of the track's Palomar Handicap (gr. IIT), for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, will carry a Breeders' Cup race designation for the first time and $50,000 more in purse money. The $200,000 stakes will be run on Sept. 7.

Another notable change on the roster is the upgrading of the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes for 2-year-olds from a grade III to a grade II event for its 33rd running on Aug. 17. The 6 1/2-furlong Best Pal is the key prep race for the track's premier juvenile offering, the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) on closing day.

Nineteen of the 27 stakes are graded -- five grade Is, 12 grade IIs and two grade IIIs. Ten of them will be run on the track's Jimmy Durante Turf Course.

Del Mar's five grade I stakes are the Pacific Classic; the $400,000 John C. Mabee Handicap (previously called the Ramona Handicap) for fillies and mares on the turf (July 26); the $400,000 Eddie Read Handicap for 3-year-olds and up on the turf (July 27); the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on turf (Aug. 24), and the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante for 2-year-old fillies (Aug. 30).

The Pacific Classic and Del Mar Oaks will be presented as a doubleheader on Aug. 24, only the second time the track has offered two grade I races on the same card.

The 2003 Del Mar Stakes Schedule:

Date, Race/Conditions, distance, purse
July 23, Oceanside Stakes (R;T;), 3yos, one mile, $100,000
July 25, CTBA Stakes (R ), 2yos, 5 1/2 furlongs, $125,000
July 26, Bing Crosby BC Handicap (gr. II), 3yo up, 6 furlongs, $200,000
July 26, John C. Mabee Handicap (gr. IT), fillies and mares, 3yo up, 1 1/8 miles $400,000
July 27, Fleet Treat Stakes (R ), 3yo fillies, seven furlongs, $100,000
July 27, Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT), 3yo up, 1 1/8 miles, $400,000
July 30, Graduation Stakes (R ), 2yos, 5 1/2 furlongs, $125,000
Aug. 2, San Clemente Handicap (gr. IIT), 3yo fillies, one mile, $150,000
Aug. 3, San Diego Handicap (gr. II), 3yo up, 1 1/16 miles, $250,000
Aug. 9, Sorrento Stakes (gr. II), 2yo fillies, 6 1/2 furlongs, $150,000
Aug. 10, Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. II), fillies and mares, 3yo up, 1 1/16 miles, $300,000
Aug. 11, Real Good Deal Stakes (R ), 3yos, seven furlongs, $100,000
Aug. 16, La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIIT), 3yos, 1 1/16 miles, $150,000
Aug. 17, Best Pal Stakes (gr. II), 2yos, 6 1/2 furlongs, $150,000
Aug. 17, Pat O'Brien Handicap (gr. II), 3yos up, 6 1/2 furlongs, $150,000
Aug. 23, Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III), fillies and mares, 3yo up, 6 1/2 furlongs, $150,000
Aug. 24, Pacific Classic (gr. I), 3yo up, 1 1/4 miles, $1,000,000
Aug. 24, Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT), 3yo fillies, 1 1/8 miles, $300,000
Aug. 30, Del Mar Debutante (gr .I), 2yo fillies, seven furlongs, $250,000
Aug. 31, Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT), 3yo up, 1 3/8 miles, $250,000
Sept. 1, Solana Beach Handicap (R; T), fillies and mares, 3yo up, one mile, $125,000
Sept. 1, Del Mar BC Handicap (gr. II), 3yo up, one mile, $250,000
Sept. 3, Generous Portion Stakes (R ), 2yo fillies, 6 furlongs, $100,000
Sept. 6, Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT), 3yos, 1 1/8 miles, $300,000
Sept. 7, Palomar BC Handicap (gr. IIT), fillies and mares, 3yo up, 1 1/16 miles, $200,000
Sept. 8, I'm Smokin Stakes (R ), 2yos, six furlongs, $100,000
Sept. 10, Del Mar Futurity (gr. II), 2yos, seven furlongs, $250,000