05/22/2007 11:00PM

Heritage weekend gets two new stakes

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SASKATOON, Saskatchewan - The 30-day live season at Marquis Downs begins Friday with racing scheduled every Friday and Saturday evening until Sept. 8, with the exception of Aug. 10-11. Post time is 7 p.m. Central Standard.

Excessively Sweet headlines the meet's first race, an allowance for fillies and mares at a half-mile. Changes have been made to the stakes schedule which will give Saskatchewan-bred runners, such as Excessively Sweet, a chance to increase their bankrolls on Heritage weekend, Aug. 17-18.

Heritage weekend is a time to celebrate the efforts of local breeders and, historically, there have been four races held for Saskatchewan-born foals.

Races for both sexes have been offered for 2-year-olds and 3-year olds. Last year, the purses were $10,000 each, although prior to that they were $15,000. This year, the purses for those races will climb to $20,000 apiece, with two new $10,000 races for older Saskatchewan-breds, one for males and one for females, being added to the stakes schedule.

Heritage weekend kicks off on Aug. 17 with the two new races, followed by the four $20,000 races the next day.

To make money available for the Heritage races, the local division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society has done away with the Saskatchewan Mare Futurity and the City of Bridges and James Leakos Memorial for 3-year-olds.

The 6 1/2-furlong Prairie Lily Sales Stakes, for graduates of the 2006 Saskatchewan yearling sale, is the meet's richest race at $25,000, and will be run Sept. 1.

The $15,000 Saskatchewan Derby highlights the final card of the meet on Sept. 8 and is contested over 1 1/16 miles.

Returning to ride this season are last year's leading jockey Tim Moccasin, Kurt Ragbirsingh, Niam Sameroo, Anderson Stephen, Valentino McBean, Andy Scarlett, Sheldon Chickeness, Danny Seesequasis, Doug Jones, and 10-pound apprentice Krista Carignan.

New to the jockey colony are Rajpaul Rajkumar, Fazal Razack, and Neville Stephenson.