04/07/2008 11:00PM

Meet's stakes purses hit record amount

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For the second consecutive year, Del Mar is offering the richest stakes schedule in its history. The track is offering 31 major stakes and 11 overnight stakes worth a total of $7.35 million for the upcoming meeting, which runs from July 16 to Sept. 3.

Last year's stakes program was worth $7.25 million.

The track has added a new race, the $150,000 Cougar II Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on the Polytrack surface on July 30. The race is designed to be a prep to the newly created $500,000 Breeders' Cup Dirt Marathon at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting in October.

The most lucrative day of the meeting is Aug. 24, which features the $1 million Pacific Classic over 1 1/4 miles, the track's only seven-figure race.

The Aug. 24 program includes three other stakes: the Del Mar Mile, Pat O'Brien Handicap, and Rancho Bernardo Handicap. The winners of the four Aug. 24 stakes receive berths in the corresponding Breeders' Cup races under the Breeders' Cup Win and You're In program.

The winners of three other stakes also qualify for a Breeders' Cup race under the Win and You're In program: the San Diego Handicap on July 19, John Mabee Handicap on Aug 3. and Del Mar Handicap on Aug. 23.

The purse of one major race has been cut. The purse for the Grade 2 Palomar Handicap has been reduced $50,000, to $200,000.