12/22/2014 2:35PM

Charles Town ties bonuses to Classic

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Imperative won the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic in April.

In an attempt to attract the best older horses in the nation to its signature event, Charles Town will tie a number of bonuses to its Grade 2 Classic in 2015. The announcement of the bonus system comes two weeks after the racino announced that the Charles Town Classic card on April 18 will be run during the day for the first time next year.

The purse of the Charles Town Classic will remain at $1.5 million in 2015, but as much as $500,000 of the purse will be distributed as bonuses to horses that meet certain criteria. Any bonus a horse earns will be split 50-50 between its owners and trainer.

The connections of a Kentucky Derby or Breeders’ Cup Classic winner will receive a bonus of $200,000 for running the course in the Charles Town Classic.

Connections of horses who have won the Preakness, Belmont Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Distaff, or Pacific Classic will be eligible to receive $100,000. The connections of any other Grade 1 winner who runs in the Classic will receive $50,000.

The bonuses will be capped at $500,000, with at least $1 million of the purse open to any runner entered. If so many bonus-eligible horses enter that the total bonuses exceed $500,000, the bonuses will be reduced in a tiered format, which would not affect the Derby/BC Classic winners, according to Erich Zimny, Charles Town’s vice president of racing operations

For example, if Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern run, and the last two Belmont Stakes winners, Tonalist and Palace Malice, also compete, California Chrome and Bayern would earn bonuses of $200,000 each and Tonalist and Palace Malice would split the remaining $100,000.

“We are rewarding horses for their past accomplishments in an effort to lure some of the top horses in the division to the Charles Town Classic,” Zimny said.

The Charles Town Classic card will include six other stakes, topped by the $150,000 Sugar Maple for fillies and mares at seven furlongs. First post will be 12:45 p.m.

Charles Town is expected to race 193 days in 2015. The stakes schedule will consist of 23 races worth a total of $3.15 million. Those figures do not include the Charles Town Breeders’ Classics, which have not yet been finalized. Last year’s nine Breeders’ Classic stakes were worth a combined $1.28 million.

The other major race of the Charles Town season is the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks, which will be run Sept. 19. The purse of the Oaks will be $350,000 in 2015, a reduction of $150,000 from this year. The Oaks was a $400,000 race from 2010 to 2013.

The Oaks is the feature on Race for the Ribbon Day, which will include five undercard stakes.