06/09/2009 12:00AM

Fairs offer $1,000 stakes incentive

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The California Authority of Racing Fairs has released a schedule of 21 stakes worth a total of $1,075,000 for the upcoming Northern California fair season, which opens next Thursday at Stockton.

The fair season runs all summer and into October, with meetings at Stockton, Pleasanton, Vallejo, Santa Rosa, Ferndale, Sacramento, Fresno, and two separate meets at Golden Gate Fields. Bay Meadows, which traditionally ran a fair meet in August, closed last year.

The fair authority is trying to attract more stakes starters by giving a $1,000 bonus to every starter in stakes for runners ages 3 and up.

"We wanted to do something for the higher-end horses, so for all stakes except 2-year-old stakes, we will be giving every horse $1,000 to start on top of the purse," said Tom Doutrich, who serves as the racing secretary for all the fairs.

"We wanted to create extra incentive to run at the fairs," said the fair authority's executive director, Chris Korby.

Every stakes race during the fair season will have a purse of $50,000, with the exception of $75,000 purses for the California State Fair Sprint and Governor's Handicap during the State Fair at Sacramento and the $25,000 C.J. Hindley Marathon at Ferndale.

There are two new turf routes for 2-year-olds at Golden Gate Fields in September, the open Bart Heller and the Indyanne for fillies. Korby said the races will give horsemen looking to run their juveniles long the opportunity to stay in Northern California. He also noted that Both Santa Rosa and Golden Gate fields will be carding turf races.

"We believe we have good opportunities for everyone," he said.