04/08/2011 3:06PM

Four Del Mar stakes take a $50,000 hit


Del Mar will run 42 stakes at its upcoming summer meeting, which runs from July 20 to Sept. 7. The purses of four major stakes have been reduced by $50,000 each from the 2010 meeting, while 11 overnight stakes have been increased by $10,000.

The richest race of the meeting will be the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic for older horses on Aug. 28, an important prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Pacific Classic program will also feature the $250,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes for sprinters and the $200,000 Del Mar Handicap on turf.

The purse of the Pat O’Brien has been cut by $50,000. The other major stakes with lowered purses are the $250,000 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 20, the $200,000 Del Mar Mile on turf on Aug. 27, and the $250,000 Del Mar Derby on Sept. 4.

According to a statement released by Del Mar on Friday, the purses of those major stakes were cut to keep Del Mar’s stakes purse distribution within limits prescribed by the Thoroughbred Owners of California, which has the right to approve purse levels for stakes.

The 11 overnight races were worth $75,000 last year, and will be worth $85,000 in 2011.

The $100,000 Oceanside Stakes for 3-year-olds on turf remains the traditional opening-day feature race. After Sunday’s La Puente Stakes at Santa Anita, the Oceanside will be the next stakes for 3-year-olds on turf on the Southern California schedule.

The top turf race for 3-year-olds at Del Mar is the $250,000 Del Mar Derby on Sept. 4.