03/29/2017 4:12PM

Downs at Albuquerque Handicap gets purse boost to $200,000

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The Downs at Albuquerque has boosted the purse of its signature race for Thoroughbreds to $200,000, according to a Wednesday announcement of the track's $2.5 million stakes schedule. The track opens its meet for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses on June 24.  

The Downs at Albuquerque Handicap, which will be for 3-year-olds and up over 1 1/8 miles Aug. 5, received a boost of $25,000. 

"Our goal is to eventually get this race and the Fall Quarter Horse Championship graded," said Albuquerque director of racing Don Cook. 

Albuquerque will put on 20 stakes during the meet. There will be 12 stakes for Thoroughbreds, worth a total of $1.1 million, and eight stakes for Quarter Horses, worth a total of $1.4 million.

The highlight of the Quarter Horse stakes schedule is the $250,000 Albuquerque Fall Championship, a 440-yard race Sept. 24 that will reward its winner with a berth into the $750,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos. 

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“Our Fall Quarter Horse Championship has quickly become one of the most important races on the national stakes calendar, and for us to be able to offer a Champion of Champions berth in just its third year is pretty remarkable,” Cook said.

The Fall Championship will share a card with three other stakes, including the $200,000 New Mexico State Fair Thoroughbred Futurity for statebreds at six furlongs, and the La Fiesta Futurity for Quarter Horses worth a meet-best purse of $300,000.