01/22/2004 1:00AM

Ellis Park tinkers with four stakes


Ellis Park's 2004 stakes schedule, released Thursday, closely mirrors last year's schedule, with minor adjustments to four stakes races.

The biggest changes effect two stakes over the meet's closing weekend. The Sept. 4 Dade Park Turf Classic and the Sept. 6 Tri-State Handicap, which had short fields in 2003, were shortened from 1 1/8 miles to 1 1/16 miles, and their purses were increased from $75,000 to $100,000.

The $100,000-added Ellis Park Breeders' Cup Handicap on Aug. 14 will be extended from six furlongs to 6 1/2 furlongs. The purse for the July 10 HBPA Handicap has been reduced from $100,000 to $75,000.

Combined purses for the 11 stakes scheduled during the 54-day summer meet will total a record $1.1 million, a $25,000 increase from 2003.

The Grade 3 Gardenia Stakes on Aug. 7 is the track's premier race, and will retain its $200,000 purse. The Ellis Park meet begins July 7 and concludes Sept. 6.

Sat. July 10HBPA Handicap*3 & Up, F&M1 Mile$75,000
Sat. July 17Regaey Island*3 YO1 1/16 Miles (T)75,000
Sat. July 24Don Bernhardt*3 & Up6 1/2 Furlongs100,000
Sat. July 31Audubon Oaks*3YO F1 1/16 Miles (T)75,000
Sat. Aug. 7Gardenia Handicap (G3)3 & Up, F&M1 1/8 Miles200,000
Sat. Aug. 14Ellis Park B.C.3 & Up, F&M6 1/2 Furlongs100,000
Sat. Aug. 21Anna M. Fisher Deb.*2YO F7 Furlongs100,000
Sat. Aug. 22James C. Ellis Juv.*2YO7 Furlongs100,000
Sat. Aug. 28Governors Handicap*3 & Up1 Mile 75,000
Sat. Sept. 4Dade Turf Classic*3 & Up, F&M1 1/16 Miles (T)100,000
Mon. Sept. 6Tri State Handicap*3 & Up1 1/16 Miles (T)100,000

*Includes $25,000 KTDF