04/08/2010 11:00PM

Belmont scraps its overnight stakes program


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association has eliminated its overnight stakes program for the upcoming Belmont Park spring/summer meet and will use that money - nearly $2.2 million - to increase purses for open-company races. Belmont's 59-day meet opens April 30.

Purses for open-company maiden and allowance races will go up by $10,000 from what they were worth at Aqueduct. The new purses reflect a $7,000 increase when compared to last year's Belmont spring/summer meet. Purses for claiming races will go up $5,000, and maiden claimers will go up by $3,000 from Aqueduct.

However, purses for New York-bred races will be cut by $2,000 when compared to the levels they were at for Aqueduct. Those purses reflect a $5,000 cut when compared to the levels they were at for last spring's meet.

P.J. Campo, NYRA's director of racing, said he came up with this idea in hopes of trying to be "somewhat competitive" with the upcoming meeting at Monmouth Park, where maiden races will have purses of $75,000 and allowance races will carry purses between $80,000 and $90,000.

"It seemed a better use of the money; you would think you would help more of the horse population," Campo said.

Campo said NYRA offered 33 overnight stakes worth $2.2 million during last year's Belmont spring/summer meeting. He said the average field size for those races was 5.5 horses.

Campo added that the New York-bred horse population is not affected by the Monmouth Park purse structure since that track will not be offering New York-bred races.

"You play to your competitors a little bit," Campo said. "The New York-breds, it is what it is. It's still a good program, and they're still running for decent money."

Campo said NYRA will assess how things are going in the middle of June before deciding upon a purse structure for Saratoga.

Migliore suffering from bulging disc

Jockey Richard Migliore took off his mounts for a second straight day Friday and was to be off all weekend as a result of a bulging disc and pinched nerve in his neck. Migliore is scheduled to see a neurologist in Manhattan on Monday.

"I'm in so much pain, I can't even see straight," Migliore said Friday. "If I'm laying down I'm okay; anything else I'm not. I owe it to the people I ride for to be at 100 percent. I'm not 100 percent right now. Hopefully, we'll come up with an answer, fix it and I'll come back better."

Migliore said he's taken injections and anti-inflammatories to try and reduce the pain, but said he "hasn't got much relief."

Since winning four races from five mounts on March 27, Migliore has ridden just three cards since, going 0 for 9. He took off on both April 1 and 2. He was going to be replaced on his three mounts on Saturday's card, which included Indian Burn in the Grade 3 Comely Stakes. Tommy Cordero, Miglore's agent, did not take calls for Migliore for Sunday. Migliore is named on two horses for next Wednesday.

Tidal Dance possible for Shuvee

Tidal Dance, winner of the Ladies and Affectionately Stakes in her last two races, could make her next start in the Grade 2, $150,000 Shuvee Handicap at Belmont on May 15, trainer Mike Hushion said.

Hushion would prefer to run Tidal Dance in races beyond a mile.

"It's not about distance, it's more a timing thing," said Hushion, who trains Tidal Dance for owner Marc Ferrell.

Hushion said that both Fiddler's Afleet and Mr. Fantasy have returned to his Belmont Park barn after disappointing seasonal debuts at Gulfstream Park. Hushion said both horses came out of their races in fine shape physically, but he has not yet selected races for their next starts.

Hushion said Rodman, winner of the Queens County, remains on a farm in Florida, still recovering from a bruised foot that knocked him out of the Donn Handicap. Hushion said Rodman could return to him in New York in about three weeks.