04/10/2009 11:00PM

Mountaineer renames stakes for Baird


Mountaineer Racetrack has rechristened one of its holiday stakes in honor of legendary trainer Dale Baird.

Baird, Thoroughbred racing's all-time leader with 9,445 victories, died in an automobile accident in December 2007. He was based at Mountaineer, and its predecessor, Waterford Park, from 1961 until his death and finished as the track's leading trainer for 20 consecutive years.

The Dale Baird Memorial Stakes, a 5 1/2-furlong event worth $75,000, was formerly known as the Mountain State. It will be part of a stakes tripleheader July 4.

Mountaineer has retained all 28 stakes from 2008 and will run them at the same purse levels as last year.

As usual, the stakes highlight will come on the first Saturday in August, when the Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby tops a program of nine stakes on the lone daytime card of the year, starting at 2 p.m. Eastern.

In addition to the 1 1/8-mile derby for 3-year-olds, there will be three other six-figure races on the Aug. 1 card, topped by the $125,000 West Virginia Governor's. The Harvey Arneault Memorial Breeders' Cup and the West Virginia Senate President's Breeders' Cup are both worth $110,000.

The only other stakes worth more than the track's standard $75,000 is the $125,000 Mountaineer Mile Handicap in November.