06/11/2009 12:00AM

Richer Oklahoma Derby one of many changes

Email

Remington Park has boosted the purse of its Oklahoma Derby to a record $400,000 in one of several changes the track has made to its 24-race, $2.4 million stakes schedule. The meet will run from Aug. 21 to Dec. 13.

The Oklahoma Derby is the centerpiece of the season. To be run Oct. 11, the 1 1/8-mile race was worth $350,000 last year. It will share a card with the Remington Park Oaks, which has been boosted from $75,000 to $200,000. The Oaks has also been moved from turf to dirt, and lengthened to 1 1/16 miles. The $150,000 Remington Green, kicked up $25,000, rounds out the $750,000 in stakes purses on Oklahoma Derby Day.

Remington, which has gaming, has also created two sprint stakes designed to draw horses prepping for the Breeders' Cup. The $200,000 Remington Park Sprint Cup and the $100,000 Remington Park Filly and Mare Sprint will both be run at six furlongs on Aug. 22. In another major change, the Springboard Mile for 2-year-olds, which had been called the MEC Mile, has been doubled in value to $200,000 and moved from October to Dec. 13.

"We're trying to make a more attractive product for the betting customer and the horsemen," said Scott Wells, the president of Remington. "By revamping our stakes schedule, I think we've put together a very attractive slate of programs that will bring some world class horses here."

Wells hopes the changes will lead to increased play on the track's races at simulcast outlets and to Remington's signal being taken at more simulcast sites.

The Sept. 7 Labor Day card will feature two major route stakes for 3-year-olds and up, the $150,000 DeBartolo Memorial on turf, and the $150,000 Governor's Cup on dirt. The Oklahoma Classics Day program of statebred stakes is Sept. 26.

Purses are projected to average $250,000 a day, said Wells.