04/22/2009 12:00AM

Stakes schedule takes on a new look


Del Mar has cut the purses of 12 stakes, raised the value of two Grade 1 races for 2-year-olds, and reshuffled the dates of several stakes for its upcoming summer meeting, which runs from July 22 to Sept. 9.

The Darley Debutante, formerly the Del Mar Debutante, and the Del Mar Futurity - both Grade 1 races for 2-year-olds - have had their purses increased $50,000 each, to $300,000. Darley is contributing to the purse of the Debutante.

The Del Mar Futurity has been moved from its traditional place as the closing day feature to Labor Day. The $200,000 Palomar Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf for fillies and mares, previously run on Labor Day weekend, will be the closing day feature this year.

The richest race of the meeting, the $1 million Pacific Classic, will have its latest running in history, on Sept. 6. The race had previously been run in mid- to late August.

Three Grade 1 races have had their purses cut by $50,000 each, to $350,000 - the Eddie Read Handicap, Del Mar Oaks and John Mabee Handicap. In addition, three Grade 2 stakes have had their purses slashed. The Del Mar Mile on turf has taken the biggest cut of any stakes, a $100,000 drop, to $300,000. The San Diego Handicap and Del Mar Derby have been reduced $50,000 each.

Two stakes for 3-year-olds around two turns have been cut by $25,000, to $100,000 - the Torrey Pines Stakes and El Cajon Stakes.

The track has reduced the purses of four stakes for statebreds by $25,000, to $100,000 - the CTBA Stakes and Graduation Stakes for 2-year-old sprinters, and the California Dreamin' Handicap and Solana Beach Handicap for turf horses.

Del Mar has placed an emphasis on the final week of the meeting, with 15 stakes spread over the final seven days of the meeting, Sept. 2-9.

The track has dropped Mondays and will race five days a week this year, from Wednesday-Sunday. The only Monday card will come on Labor Day.