09/13/2013 4:37PM

Belmont Park notes: Stakes purses increased

Barbara D. Livingston
Rydilluc, a stakes winner on turf, will take the rest of the year off and prepare for a 4-year-old campaign.

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ELMONT, N.Y. – Thanks in large part to revenue from the casino at Aqueduct, purses at the Belmont fall meet were increased from last year, including stakes purses, which increased by $1.1 million.

Eighteen of the 31 stakes offered at the Belmont fall meet had their purses increased, most notably Saturday’s Grade 1 Garden City, which was originally worth $350,000 but was upped to $500,000.

The trio of Grade 1 races scheduled for Oct. 5 – the Champagne, Frizette, and Jamaica – all had their purses increased from $400,000 to $500,000. Next Saturday’s Grade 2 Gallant Bloom also had its purse increased from $200,000 to $300,000.

The Pilgrim, Miss Grillo, Athenia, Knickerbocker, Bold Ruler, and Turnback the Alarm – all Grade 3 races – as well as the listed Pebbles had their purses increased by $50,000 to $200,000.

Overnight purses for the Belmont fall meet resemble those offered at the Belmont spring meet. Last year, the Belmont fall purses were below Belmont spring-meet purse levels.

There also are $10,000 purse incentives offered on maiden special or any type of allowance race that leaves the paddock with eight or more betting interests.

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Cigar Mile could be worth $1 million

The Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct will have its guaranteed purse upped from $400,000 to $500,000, but there will be two incentives that could boost the purse even higher, according to P.J. Campo, the New York Racing Association’s vice president and director of racing.

Any Grade 1 winner who runs in the Cigar Mile on Nov. 30 will be running for the winner’s share of $750,000. If any winner of a Breeders’ Cup race – from any year – runs in the Cigar Mile, that horse will be running for the winner’s share of a $1 million pot.

Campo said the incentive is to remind people that after the Breeders’ Cup, “the year’s not over.”

Last year, Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Groupie Doll ran in the Cigar Mile, getting beaten a nose by Stay Thirsty.

Rydilluc done for the year

Rydilluc, a multiple stakes-winning 3-year-old turf horse, will be given the remainder of 2013 off and point to a 4-year-old campaign, trainer Gary Contessa said.

Contessa said Rydilluc “had a couple of little things nagging him,” which prompted the trainer to give Rydilluc 60 days off on Dr. Jerry Bilinksi’s farm in North Chatham, N.Y.

Rydilluc won the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream in March and the inaugural Penn Mile at Penn National in June. In his two most recent starts, Rydilluc finished eighth in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs and 11th in the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington.

LaPenta buys half of Lunarwarfare

Robert LaPenta has purchased a 50 percent interest in Lunarwarfare, the third-place finisher in the Hopeful Stakes.

LaPenta purchased the share in the son of War Pass – the 2007 2-year-old champion campaigned by LaPenta – from owner and trainer Michael Yates. The horse remains with Yates.

“Mr. LaPenta is a big supporter of War Pass,” said Jon Panagot, racing manager for LaPenta. “We got something done to buy half of him. We’ll see how he is and how he trains. I thought he ran encouraging in the Hopeful.”

Lunarwarfare won his debut at Gulfstream by 6 1/2 lengths, earning a 92 Beyer Speed Figure. There was a ton of interest in the horse after that race, but a deal never got done. He spent the summer in Saratoga, where he finished fourth in the Saratoga Special before the Hopeful.

Yates called it “the best of both worlds” that he was able to sell a partial stake in the horse and still keep Lunarwarfare in his barn at Calder. Future plans for Lunarwarfare were uncertain Friday.

◗ At Saratoga on Friday, Travers winner Will Take Charge worked five furlongs in 1:00.89 over the Oklahoma training track, which was labeled “good.” Will Take Charge is preparing for the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx on Sept. 21. Saratoga clockers caught Will Take Charge in fractions of 12.79, 24.36, and 35.84 and had him galloping out six furlongs in 1:16.37.