03/02/2005 12:00AM

Manitoba Lotteries Derby tops slate of 30 stakes

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Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, which opened for training Tuesday under cold and snowy conditions, will run 30 stakes at its 2005 meeting, which begins May 1.

Heading the stakes program, which is worth a total of $1.25 million, is the Manitoba Lotteries Derby. The purse for the race had been cut to $75,000 last year, but has been restored to $100,000.

The Manitoba Lotteries Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds, will be featured on the Aug. 1 card that also includes three $40,000 races, the Winnipeg Futurity, Jack Hardy, and Wheat City.

The second-richest stakes of the meeting will be the Matron Breeders' Cup and the Gold Breeders' Cup, both worth $65,000, including $25,000 from the Breeders' Cup Fund.

The only significant change on the stakes schedule involves the CTHS Sales Stakes. It was formerly run in separate divisions, one for colts and geldings and one for fillies, but will now be a single event. Colts and geldings will run for $40,000; fillies for $15,000 more.

Assiniboia's 75-day meeting will run through Sept. 25. Racing will be conducted Fridays through Sundays, on holiday Mondays, and on most Tuesdays from June 21 through Aug. 23.