01/31/2016 3:07PM

Best of Ohio series coming to Mahoning Valley this fall

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The five richest stakes for Ohio-breds will be contested at Mahoning Valley Race Course near Youngstown in 2016.

For the first time, the Best of Ohio series in the fall will be held at Mahoning Valley. The five Best of Ohio stakes, worth $150,000 apiece, will be contested on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Ohio plans to rotate the Best of Ohio series among Mahoning Valley, ThistleDown Racino in suburban Cleveland, and Belterra Park in Cincinnati.

The Ohio State Racing Commission approved a schedule of 41 stakes for Ohio-breds during its January meeting last week in Columbus. With the exception of the Best of Ohio series, all stakes will be worth $75,000 apiece.

The first stakes of the season is the Southern Park for 3-year-old fillies going six furlongs on March 26 at Mahoning Valley.

The stakes are almost evenly divided among Ohio’s three racetracks. ThistleDown will have 15 statebred stakes, one more than Mahoning Valley during its 100-day season that is split between a winter-spring meet and a fall session. Belterra was assigned 12 stakes, six of them on turf.

The Ohio Thoroughbred Race Fund will be worth $5.79 million in 2016. Of that total, $2.59 million is earmarked for Ohio-breds in overnight races. Based on 100-day seasons, Mahoning Valley and ThistleDown will get $883,000 and Belterra will get $838,000 for its 93-day meet.