01/09/2010 1:00AM

With sponsor, Derby Trial purse is doubled


Churchill Downs has doubled the purse of the Derby Trial and renamed it The Cliff's Edge Derby Trial, thanks to a new sponsorship from Roberta LaPenta, who raced The Cliff's Edge.

The Grade 3 Derby Trial will be worth $200,000 when it is renewed at one mile on April 24, one week before the 136th Kentucky Derby. The race had been run at 7 1/2 furlongs the last three years but is being restored to its original distance.

Churchill president Kevin Flanery said in a media release that the increased purse "will significantly enhance the attractiveness and prestige of this historic final prep."

The Derby Trial has produced the occasional Derby starter in recent decades but, mostly because of its timing, has evolved into more of a fringe prep for the Preakness, which comes three weeks later. The last Derby Trial winner to win the Derby was Tim Tam in 1958, when the Trial was run just four days before the Derby.

The Cliff's Edge stands at Margaux Farm in Midway, ky., for a fee of $5,000.