04/17/2012 1:50PM

Del Mar offers $7.75 million in stakes with boost from Oak Tree


Del Mar will offer 43 stakes worth $7.75 million at its summer meeting, which runs from July 18 to Sept. 5, including two new stakes for 2-year-olds on turf and one race renamed to reflect a closer relationship between the racetrack and the Oak Tree Racing Association.

Oak Tree ran a fall meeting at Santa Anita from 1969 to 2009 and at Hollywood Park in 2010. The track did not run a meeting in 2011 and will not do so this year, but is forging closer ties with Del Mar and Hollywood Park, according to Oak Tree’s executive vice-president Sherwood Chillingworth.

At Del Mar this summer, the $250,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap will be run in place of the Palomar Handicap as a turf stakes for fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles in early September. Chillingworth said the Yellow Ribbon, which had been run over 1 1/4 miles at Oak Tree meetings in the past, will not be run at Santa Anita this year.

Aside from the Yellow Ribbon, Del Mar has two new $100,000 stakes honoring Oak Tree – the Oak Tree Juvenile Stakes and the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Stakes, both for 2-year-olds over a mile on turf in early September. Oak Tree has made a financial contribution to the purses of those races.

Last year, Santa Anita and Oak Tree reached a financial agreement for Santa Anita to use Oak Tree’s stakes, notably the prep races for the Breeders’ Cup run at Santa Anita in the fall. The financial agreement allowed Oak Tree, a not-for-profit organization, to continue its donations to a variety of racing-related charities.

This year, no such agreement exists, Chillingworth said. Santa Anita has not announced the stakes schedule for its fall meeting this year.

Chillingworth said that Oak Tree will supplement stakes purses by $200,000 at the Hollywood Park fall meeting this year. Details have not been announced.

The purses of 10 Del Mar stakes have been increased from the 2011 meeting, including three worth an additional $100,000. The Real Good Deal Stakes, for 3-year-old California-breds, and the Fleet Treat Stakes, for 3-year-old California-bred fillies, had their purses boosted from $100,000 to $200,000. The Yellow Ribbon purse of $250,000 is $100,000 higher than the Palomar purse last year.

The purses of seven races were increased $50,000, including four Grade 1 races that will be worth $300,000 each – the Bing Crosby Stakes, Del Mar Oaks, Del Mar Debutante, and Del Mar Futurity.

The richest race of the meeting is the $1 million Pacific Classic over 1 1/4 miles on Aug. 26.

One race has been eliminated from the schedule. The $85,000 Windy Sands Handicap, run in the past over a mile on the Polytrack synthetic surface, is not on the calendar this year.