03/15/2010 11:00PM

Pimlico Special, duPont cut at Pimlico


Two of Pimlico's most prestigious and richest stakes races will not be contested this spring.

In a news release Tuesday, the Maryland Jockey Club announced the Grade 1 Pimlico Special and the Grade 2 Allaire duPont Distaff have been put on hiatus due to a purse shortage.

The Pimlico Special, first contested in 1937, has been suspended four times in the last nine years, including last season.


"We have tried hard to recruit Grade 1 winners to run in the Special," said Tom Chuckas, president and chef operating officer of the Maryland Jockey Club. "Unfortunately, a $250,000 purse is just not good enough to persuade connections, so we have decided to suspend the race this year."

The duPont, which had a $150,000 purse last year, was a fixture on the schedule since 1992 and a graded race since 1994, moving from Grade 3 to Grade 2 status in 2007.

Overall, the six-week spring meet that begins April 17 will have 18 stakes worth $2.4 million, compared with 21 stakes worth $2.6 million a year ago.

The Grade 2 Dixie received a $50,000 boost to $200,000 to become the second-richest stakes on the schedule. The Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan will be worth $175,000, a $25,000 increase since last year.

The Miss Preakness and the Jim McKay Turf Sprint both took $30,000 cuts to $70,000. The Miss Preakness lost its Grade 3 status last fall when it was downgraded by the American Graded Stakes Committee.

The Woodlawn Stakes, a turf race for 3-year-olds, has been renamed the James W. Murphy Stakes, honoring the trainer who won nearly 1,400 races and more than $24 million before his death last June.

All but three of the stakes will be contested on Preakness weekend. The Friday, May 14 card will feature seven stakes, highlighted by the Black-Eyed Susan for 3-year-old fillies.

The 135th running of the Preakness, second jewel in racing's Triple Crown, headlines the Saturday, May 15 program, with eight added-money events including six graded races.