02/21/2008 12:00AM

Salvator Mile joins July 5 card with United Nations


The Salvator Mile will play a more prominent role on the Monmouth Park stakes schedule this summer.

As usual, the highlight of the meet will be the $1 million Haskell Invitational for 3-year-olds on Aug. 3. But by combining the Grade 3 Salvator with the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes on July 5, Monmouth adds a second major stakes day to its meet.

"We're going to look to make that into a major weekend," said Monmouth vice president Bob Kulina. "It's always been good, but hopefully we can grow it into a big racing event."

The Salvator and the U.N. also join the "Win and You're In" program this year, with the winners getting automatic berths in corresponding Breeders' Cup races. The two Monmouth stakes will be televised on ESPN and will be the first of 49 races to be run in this year's Breeders' Cup Challenge Series.

The purse of the Salvator has been doubled to $300,000. Gottcha Gold, last year's Salvator winner, went on to finish second in the inaugural BC Dirt Mile at Monmouth.

In the only other change in this year's graded stakes schedule, the purse of the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks on Aug. 9 has been trimmed $50,000 to $150,000.

Overall, Monmouth will offer 13 graded races worth a combined $3.85omillion during the meet that runs from May 9 through Sept. 28.