12/06/2013 5:24PM

Laurel: Barbara Fritchie, General George will be worth more in 2014


The two biggest races during Laurel Park’s winter meet received significant purse boosts for 2014.

The Barbara Fritchie Handicap, a Grade 2 event for fillies and mares, was raised $100,000 to $300,000, while the Grade 3 General George Handicap got a $50,000 bump to $250,000 as part of a winter stakes schedule announced by the Maryland Jockey Club on Friday.

The Barbara Fritchie and General George, both seven-furlong events, headline a four-stakes package on Presidents Day weekend, Feb. 15 and Feb. 17.

Overall, Laurel will offer 16 stakes worth a collective $1.95 million during a 46-day meet that runs from Jan. 1 to March 29. The plan still awaits formal approval from the Maryland Racing Commission on Dec. 17.  In 2013, Laurel had 11 stakes worth $1.27 million during its winter meet.

The increases include four $100,000 races brought back after a one-year hiatus – the Fire Plug and What a Summer for sprinters and the Nellie Morse and Native Dancer for distance horses.

The Fire Plug and Nellie Morse are part of a four-stakes program on Jan. 4. The What a Summer and Native Dancer will be contested as part of a four-stakes card on Jan. 25.

All 14 stakes other than the Barbara Fritchie and General George will be worth $100,000 apiece.