10/17/2001 11:00PM

Stakes and claiming races get purse boost


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Strong business and surplus money from a legislative purse supplement prompted the Meadowlands to raise purses for all $50,000 and $75,000 stakes to $100,000 for the rest of the meet, starting with the Oct. 19 Pegasus Handicap program.

Thirteen stakes scheduled over the remaining four weeks of the meet will have their purses boosted to $100,000.

Claiming races will also get a purse boost of 22 to 36 percent. It's the second purse increase of the meet for overnight races, as the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Benevolent Association, Eastern New Jersey Division, looks to spend all the money from a purse supplement handed down by the state legislature at the beginning of this year.

"Our goal has always been to offer the highest purses, but we also want this to be a long-term strategy," said Bruce Garland, senior vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports Authority, which operates The Meadowlands. "With no assurances that there will be another purse supplement in 2002, we requested that the THBA consider carrying over some of the funds, but the association denied that request and want it all spent this meet."

Live ontrack handle is up 11 percent for the meet from last year and average total Thoroughbred handle has jumped 21 percent.

First crack at bigger purses

Sprinting fillies and mares will be among the first to enjoy the purse boost on Saturday in the $100,000 Phoenix Stakes at five furlongs. Also on Saturday, 3-year-old fillies sprint six furlongs in the $100,000 Half Moon Stakes.

Gold Mover and Stormy Pick, who each won graded stakes last year at 2, will compete in the Half Moon. Edgar Prado will ride Gold Mover for trainer Mark Hennig. Eibar Coa will be aboard Stormy Pick for trainer Ben Perkins Jr.

In the Phoenix, Deed I Do is expected to ship from New York for trainer Phil Serpe. Trainer John Kimmel supplemented Argentine-bred La Galerie to the race.

Win No. 6 for Dixie Two Thousand

Dixie Two Thousand, who remained unbeaten in six starts with an allowance victory last weekend, will run next in the $100,000 Great Falls Stakes on Nov. 10, closing night. The win was the second in open company for the New Jersey-bred Dixie Two Thousand, who is owned by Colonial Farms and trained by Willard Thompson.

"He's surprised me six times already," said Thompson, who won the training title at Monmouth over the summer and leads the Meadowlands standings with 11 wins through Wednesday. "He's not much of a work horse and he never breezes real fast, but he's just so competitive that when he gets out there he just wants to win."

Another apprentice on rise

Add another name to the growing list of apprentice jockeys finding success at this meet. Nelson Arroyo earned his first career victory with Taylor's Ryde Tuesday night. Nelson Arroyo is the 21-year-old brother of Norberto Arroyo, the leading apprentice in New York last year.

Nelson Arroyo rode Taylor's Ryde, the 3-5 favorite, to a five-length score for trainer Vito Merola.

He joins leading jockey Julian Pimental, Monmouth Park's leading apprentice Victor Carrero, Eclipse contender Jeremy Rose, and four other apprentices who ride here regularly.