03/22/2017 1:42PM

Del Mar to run 41 stakes during summer meet

Barbara D. Livingston
Del Mar will host five stakes offering an automatic berth to Breeders' Cup races.

Del Mar has scheduled 41 stakes for its summer meeting, which runs July 19 to Sept. 4, including several that serve as prep races for the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 3-4. Del Mar is hosting the Breeders’ Cup for the first time this year.

The summer stakes schedule is led by the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 19, one of five races that offer an automatic berth for the winner to a Breeders’ Cup race. The winner of the Pacific Classic will receive a fees-paid berth to the $6 million BC Classic.

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The Pacific Classic program will have two other graded stakes, both on turf – the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks for 3-year-old fillies and the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap for 3-year-olds and up. The winner of the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap will receive an automatic berth to the BC Turf.

The other races with automatic berths for the Breeders’ Cup are the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes on July 29 for the BC Sprint, the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes on July 30 for the BC Distaff, and the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien Stakes on Aug. 26 for the BC Dirt Mile.

In 2016, the track had 43 stakes during the summer meeting.

The track has cut two $75,000 overnight stakes from its summer calendar – the Sandy Blue Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on turf and the Pirate’s Bounty Stakes for sprinters on the main track. The purses for two stakes for California-bred 2-year-old sprinters – the I’m Smokin and Generous Portion stakes – have been cut by $50,000 each to $100,000.

The summer season will open on a Wednesday for the first time since 2013. The 2016 summer meeting opened on a Friday.