06/12/2012 12:25PM

California Authority of Racing Fairs to offer $1 million in stakes purses

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The California Authority of Racing Fairs will offer $1,080,000 in stakes purses during its season, which begins next Thursday, June 21, with the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton. There are 19 stakes scheduled at the six fair tracks – Pleasanton, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Ferndale, Stockton, and Fresno – with the first one the $50,000 California Wine Stakes on June 23 at Pleasanton.

Each of the fairs except for Ferndale and Stockton offers at least one $75,000 stakes. The bulk of the stakes money will be distributed at Pleasanton ($375,000) and Santa Rosa ($400,000), which will offer seven stakes each.

The 1 5/8-mile Humboldt County Marathon at Ferndale, where runners pass the finish line five times, has had its purse doubled from $15,000 to $30,000 and will be an open race instead of being restricted to lower-level claimers.

Two stakes were not brought back from last year, the Les Mademoiselle at Ferndale, which did not fill last year, and the $75,000 Soviet Problem for 2-year-old fillies at Fresno.

“There’s a stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Golden Gate a couple weeks later that will be run instead,” fairs racing secretary Tom Doutrich said.

Meet highlights include the $75,000 Sam J. Whiting Memorial (July 4) for older sprinters at Pleasanton, the $75,000 California State Fair Filly and Mare Sprint (July 21) at Sacramento, the $75,000 Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes (Aug. 12) and $75,000 Wine Country Debutante (Aug. 11) for 2-year-olds and 2-year-old fillies, respectively, at Santa Rosa; and the $75,000 Charlie Palmer Futurity (Oct. 6) for 2-year-olds at a mile and $75,000 Bulldog Handicap (Oct. 14) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles at the Big Fresno Fair.

Five of the seven stakes at Santa Rosa are scheduled for grass. Santa Rosa is the only fair track with a turf course.

“I think we have a balanced stakes schedule with sprints and routes for older runners and stakes on the turf,” Doutrich said.