05/15/2003 11:00PM

Philadelphia Park drops BC Sprint


There was one fewer graded stakes than last year when Philadelphia Park announced its 2003 stakes schedule - the Philadelphia Breeders' Cup Sprint, a Grade 3 race for older horses at six furlongs.

The Philadelphia BC had been run since 1986 and had been won by such top-caliber sprinters as High Brite (1987), Friendly Lover (1995-96), and Say Florida Sandy (2001). Artax ran second in 1999, the same year he won the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Two other stakes, the Pistol Packer for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles, and the Kindergarten for 2-year-old fillies, also were dropped.

As usual, the track's big day will be Labor Day, when six stakes will be run, including the Grade 3, $500,000 Pennsylvania Derby. The undercard will contain the $100,000 Pennsylvania Oaks and the $75,000 Steve Van Buren Handicap.

The Oaks is one of two stakes to get a $25,000 purse boost. The My Juliet, which starts the stakes season on Memorial Day, will also now be worth $100,000, up from $75,000 last year.

Besides the Pennsylvania Derby, the track's only other graded race is the $250,000 Cotillion Handicap, a Grade 2 for 3-year-old fillies on Oct. 4.