01/13/2006 1:00AM

Grade 3 Gardenia heads 'Big Four' stakes package


Ellis Park will run 10 stakes during its 36-day meet this summer, officials at the Henderson, Ky., track announced Friday.

The highlight of the meet, which runs July 19 to Sept. 4, is the Grade 3, $150,000 Gardenia Handicap, the lone graded race on the schedule. For the second straight year, the Gardenia will anchor a "Big Four Stakes Saturday" program on Aug. 5.

In all, stakes purses will total $650,000. Besides the Gardenia and the $100,000 Ellis Park Breeders' Cup Turf on Aug. 19, all other stakes will be worth $50,000, including the Debutante and Juvenile, which have been cut from $75,000.

The summer meet will be the first at Ellis since the track incurred heavy damage from a tornado on Nov. 6. Repair work is ongoing.

2006 stakes schedule

Sat.,July 22HBPA HandicapF&M, 3YO & Up1 Mile (T)$50,000
Sat.,July 29Don Bernhardt3YO & Up6 1/2 furlongs50,000
Sat.,Aug. 5Regaey Island3YO1 1/16 miles (T)50,000
Sat.,Aug. 5Gardenia Handicap (G3)F&M, 3YO & Up1 mile150,000
Sat.,Aug. 5Anna M. Fisher Debutante2YO F7 furlongs50,000
Sat.,Aug. 5James C. Ellis Juvenile2YO7 furlongs50,000
Sat.,Aug. 12Audobon Oaks3YO F1 1/16 miles (T)50,000
Sat.Aug. 19Ellis Park B.C. TurfF&M, 3YO & Up1 1/16 miles (T)100,000
Sat.Aug. 26Governor's Handicap3YO & Up1 mile50,000
Sat.,Sept. 2Tri-State Handicap3YO & Up1 1/16 miles (T)50,000