01/24/2013 5:48PM

Harness Racing: Yonkers to guarantee purses for stakes finals; decrease starting fees

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Yonkers Racetrack management has increased the appeal of its most important stakes beginning in 2013 by guaranteeing final purses in the open divisions, slashing entrance fees for colt and filly races by more than half, and reducing the sustaining payments by 50% to these events. The changes take effect immediately with the foal crop of 2010.

The half-mile oval is home to three major harness events: the Yonkers Trot, Art Rooney Pace and Messenger Stakes. The Yonkers Trot and Messenger Stakes are part of the Trotting and Pacing Triple Crowns, respectively, making Yonkers the only track to host legs of each gait’s Triple Crown.

The Art Rooney Pace for three-year-olds will now have a guaranteed final of $275,000 on Saturday, June 1.  The Messenger Stake, slated for Saturday, November 2, will feature a final guaranteed at $450,000.

The Yonkers Trot, the first leg of the trotting triple crown, is scheduled for Saturday, July 27, with a $450,000 guaranteed final.

The purses for the accompanying filly divisions will continue with estimated purses as follows: the Lismore and Lady Maud are $115,000 estimated and the Hudson Filly Trot final is $110,000 estimated.

Starting fees for the "big three" at Yonkers, which were as high as $20,000 ($10,000 to race in the elim and $10,000 to race in the final) for the colt divisions, will be reduced to $5,000 for the elimination and $2,500 for the final. Fillies will have to pony up $2,500 for the eliminations and just $1,250 for the final.

A wealth of information – dates, purses, payment forms, etc - on these stakes and more can be found at www.hambletonian.org.

(edited release-Hambletonian Society)