Pimlico Race Course has released its 2012 stake schedule that consists of 22 stakes, highlighted by the May 19 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), with purses totaling $3.425 million, an increase of $525,000. Preakness weekend features 16 stakes for $3 million.
The Preakness undercard will have seven other stakes including four graded events. The purse for the Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) has been increased from $200,000 to $300,000 and the Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT) goes from $100,000 to $150,000.
The May 18 card features eight stakes, six for fillies and mares, highlighted by the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies. The purse for the Black-Eyed Susan was increased to $300,000. The Preakness eve card also includes the return of the historic $300,000 Pimlico Special (gr. III)), which has been run just once since 2007. The Special replaces the William Donald Schaefer Stakes in the stakes lineup.
“Having a strong stakes schedule at Pimlico is important,” said Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas. “The return of the Special combined with the purse increases for the Black-Eyed Susan, Dixie, and six other stakes races over Preakness weekend improves our profile. We are working hard to make the other races desirable to the horsemen and bettors. Increased purses will hopefully lead to larger fields and more wagering.”
One other modification is that the name of the Federico Tesio Stakes has been changed to Canonero II, after the 1971 Preakness winner.
The Pimlico spring stand will begin March 30 with live racing taking place four days a week on a Thursday through Sunday schedule (with holiday exceptions). The 29-day meet will end with the Preakness day card.
First post for 26 of the 29 days of the meeting will be 1:10 p.m. (EDT) with adjustments on Preakness (10:45 a.m.), Black-Eyed Susan (12:15 p.m.) and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I, May 5, 12:45 p.m.) days.
The Pimlico stable area will be open for training from March 12 through June 1.
The current Laurel Park winter meeting will conclude its 12-week run Saturday, March 24.