01/05/2011 12:38PM

Hastings increases stakes purses, adds 3-year-old bonus series

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Hastings will run 41 stakes totaling more than $2.5 million in 2011. That represents a 23 percent increase from 2010 when $2.1 million was paid out in stakes purses. The additional money is in line with the overall purse increase for the 71-day meet that begins on April 16 and finishes Oct. 2. The additional purse money is the result of the provincial government’s increased allotment of slots revenue to racetracks.

The most important and richest race at Hastings is the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby, which is set for Sept. 10. The B.C. Derby has had its purse restored to $200,000 this year after being reduced to $150,000 in 2010.

The mile and an eighth B.C. Derby anchors a newly created three-race series for sophomores that begins with the $75,000 Chris Loseth July 1, and includes the $75,000 Richmond Derby Trial Aug. 14. A bonus will be paid if a horse wins all three races. Both the Chris Loseth and Derby Trial had their purses raised by $25,000.

“The bonus should be around $200,000,” said Hastings general manager Raj Mutti. “We are still looking at insurance rates so we haven’t finalized the actual amount.”

The $100,000 British Columbia Oaks and a couple of six-furlong sprints, the $50,000 Derby Bar & Grill Express for 3-year-olds and up and the Ladies Derby Bar & Grill Express for fillies and mares, will be part of the B.C. Derby card.

The $50,000 B.C. Cup Classic for 3-year-olds and up headlines the seven stakes totaling $350,000 that make up the bulk of B.C. Cup Day on Aug. 1. B.C. Cup Day is usually the biggest day of the meet in terms of attendance and handle.

The Grade 3, $100,000 Premiers for 3-year-olds and up and the Grade 3, $100,000 Ballerina for fillies and mares are scheduled for closing day, Oct. 2.