03/16/2005 1:00AM

Alberta Derby purse hits $125K this year

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The $125,000 Alberta Derby, with a $25,000 purse increase, will be the highlight of a 14-race stakes schedule worth a record total of $775,000 at this year's Stampede Park meeting.

Horse Racing Alberta, which manages and regulates the industry in the province, approved the schedule late last week. The 47-day meeting begins April 1 and runs through June 19.

"The last few years, the overnight purses have been increasing and the stakes haven't," said Barry McGrath, racing secretary at the Calgary, Alberta oval. "This will just help get things back in line."

The Alberta Derby, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds, will be run Saturday, June 18.

The other stakes for the meet are each worth $50,000, with 10 of them bumped up from $40,000.

"Next year they would have to be $50,000, anyway, to meet the black-type requirements," said McGrath. "The money was there to do it this year, and everybody agreed it would be a good thing to do."

New to Stampede Park will be the two divisions of the Sales Stakes, which were run at Northlands Park in Edmonton last year.

The six-furlong Sales, restricted to older Canadian-breds who are graduates of an Alberta auction, will be run April 16.

Stampede Park will start with a Friday-through-Sunday schedule, with Wednesdays added beginning April 13. There will be a Victoria Day holiday program on May 23.

McGrath said almost all of the 1,150 available stalls are occupied.

2005 stakes schedule

DATEEVENTCONDITIONSDISTANCEPURSE
Sat,. April 16Sales Stakes Handicap 4yo & Up*6 Furlongs$50,000
Sat.,April 16Sales Stakes HandicapF&M, 4yo & Up* 6 Furlongs 50,000
Sat.,April 30 Stp. Sprint Championship Hcp.4yo & Up 6 Furlongs 50,000
Sun.,May 1 M.R. Jenkins Memorial Handicap F&M, 4yo & Up 6 Furlongs 50,000
Sat.,May 7 President'sHandicap C&G, 3yo6 Furlongs50,000
Sun.,May 8 Mount Royal Handicap 3yo F6 Furlongs50,000
Sat.,May 21 Teeworth PlateHandicap 3yo & Up1 Mile50,000
Mon., May 23Ken Pearson Memorial Handicap F&M, 3yo & Up 1 Mile50,000
Sat..,May 28 Hoofprint On My Heart Handicap3yo 1 Mile50,000
Sun.,May 29 Lilac Handicap 3yo F1 Mile50,000
Sat.,June 11Duchess Of YorkF&M, 3yo & Up 1 1/16 Miles50,000
Sun.,June 12 Herald Gold Plate3yo & Up1 1/16 Miles50,000
Sat.,June 18 Alberta Derby 3yo 1 1/16 Miles125,000
Sun.,June 19Penny Ridge3yo F1 1/16 Miles50,000

*Canadian-Bred