01/23/2002 12:00AM

Hollywood adds 500G filly race


ARCADIA, Calif. - Hollywood Park will launch a $500,000 turf race over 1 1/4 miles for 3-year-old fillies this summer.

According to Martin Panza, the track's racing secretary, the new American Oaks will be run on July 6 and will be the focal point of seven non-restricted stakes for 3-year-old fillies at the spring-summer meeting.

"We decided we should be doing something that no one else is doing," Panza said. "No one else in America has done anything with this division."

The new race will become the richest race for 3-year-old fillies in California, surpassing the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks on dirt and the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks on turf.

Last year, the richest stakes of the spring-summer meeting for 3-year-old fillies was the $250,000 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf. This year, the Honeymoon will be worth $200,000 and run over 1 1/8 miles on June 8, serving as a prep for the American Oaks.

To make room for the American Oaks, the stakes schedule for 3-year-old fillies on dirt has undergone significant revisions.

The Princess Stakes over 1 1/16 miles will no longer be run. Last year, it was worth $150,000. The Hollywood Oaks, previously the showcase race for the division, will be run a month earlier, on June 15, and shortened from 1 1/8 miles to 1 1/16 miles. Its purse will be raised from $150,000 to $250,000, with $50,000 from the Breeders' Cup.

In recent years, Hollywood Park has struggled to attract quality and quantity for the Princess and Hollywood Oaks. Last year, the Princess had six starters, while the Oaks drew five. "Last year, we had to hustle a maiden in the Oaks," Panza said. "We were wasting horsemen's money, and it's not drawing fan interest."