05/17/2007 11:00PM

Five stakes receive $25,000 purse boost

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The $300,000 Canadian Derby, Western Canada's richest race, once again tops a 34-race stakes schedule worth a record total of $2,345,000 at the upcoming meeting at Northlands Park.

But there are several changes of note on this year's stakes program, including a boost of $25,000 for five stakes.

The City of Edmonton Distaff, for fillies and mares, has been upped to $100,000 from $75,000 and has been moved onto the Aug. 25 Canadian Derby card.

"We've never had a fillies and mares race here for $100,000," said Fred Hilts, racing secretary at Northlands. "We had two for 3-year-old fillies."

Others receiving $25,000 increases and now worth $75,000 are the Wild Rose, for fillies and mares; the Ky Alta and Count Lathum, for 3-year-olds; and the Don Fleming (formerly the Klondike), for 3-year-olds and upward.

Hilts said the increases were allocated at the direction of HorseRacing Alberta and the local Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, which oversee the purse distribution.

This year's Northlands Park meeting, which begins June 22, has been shortened from to 61 days and will conclude on Sept. 30, as opposed to Oct. 21 last year.

The shorter meeting has necessitated a juggling of the stakes schedule for 2-year-olds.

The Freedom of the City and the Canadian Juvenile, which were run in early October, have been moved to early September.

The Bird of Pay and Birdcatcher, which had been run in early September, have been moved up to early August, with the Edmonton Juvenile and Princess Margaret moving up from early August to mid-July.

The Western Canada and Chariot Chaser, which were moved to mid-October last year to give the older divisions a late-season crack at a stakes sprint, have returned to their original spots in early July.

Alberta Fall Classic Day, which features seven stakes worth a total of $400,000 for Alberta-breds, will be held this year on Sept. 29.