03/09/2010 12:00AM

Hollywood makes major cuts to stakes purses


Hollywood Park has made severe cuts to its stakes schedule for the upcoming spring-summer meeting from April 21 to July 18, including reducing the purses of five Grade 1 races.


The richest race of the meeting will be the Grade 1, $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 10, a race worth $750,000 last year. The other six Grade 1 races will be worth $250,000. The Gamely Stakes on May 29 and Shoemaker Mile on May 31 are unchanged in value. The American Oaks was cut from $700,000, while the Charles Whittingham Handicap, Triple Bend Handicap, and Vanity Handicap have been cut from $300,000.

The track is offering 45 stakes worth $5.8 million, down from 49 races worth $8 million in 2009. The reductions were made to stabilize overnight purses, according to Hollywood Park vice president of racing Martin Panza.

"We've got to put as much money in overnight purses as possible to aid horsemen in these tough economic times," he said in a statement.

Six stakes run in 2009 will not be offered this year - the Ack Ack Handicap, Gallant Man Stakes, Cinema Handicap, Flawlessly Stakes, Khaled Stakes, and Round Table Handicap.

Two races have been restored - the Will Rogers Handicap for 3-year-olds on turf and the Grade 3 Jim Murray Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on turf. The Will Rogers serves as a replacement for the Cinema, which was run for 3-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles on turf. Until 2008, both races were offered on the stakes schedule.

The $150,000 Jim Murray Handicap was not run in 2009.

The Gold Rush program for California-breds on April 24 is led by the $200,000 Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-olds, which was worth $250,000 last year. The program will feature nine stakes this year, down from 10 last year.