01/12/2007 12:00AM

Stakes schedule worth record $11.3 million


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Churchill Downs on Friday released the stakes schedules for both the 2007 spring and fall meets with numerous purse increases and other notable revisions.

In all, 47 stakes, including 37 graded events, will be run at Churchill this year, with purses totaling more than $11.3 million, marking the first time the track has exceeded the $11 million mark.

Foremost among the races receiving purse hikes is the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, a Kentucky Derby Day co-feature that now will be worth $500,000, up from $400,000. Four other Derby Day stakes got $50,000 increases: the $300,000 Humana Distaff, $250,000 Churchill Downs, $150,000 CD Distaff Turf Mile, and $150,000 La Troienne.

Among the fall races getting purse increases of $50,000 are the twin closing-day features for 2-year-olds, the Kentucky Jockey Club and Golden Rod Stakes on Nov. 24. Both are now worth $250,000. The respective preps for those races, the Oct. 28 Iroquois and Pocahontas, also were bumped $50,000, up to $150,000.

In all, 13 stakes will have increased purses.

In a noteworthy scheduling change, the $200,000 River City Handicap has been moved to later in the fall meet and will be a secondary feature on the Nov. 23 program anchored by the $500,000 Clark Handicap.

Reflecting a change in policy, Churchill is eliminating handicap conditions from three longtime fixtures and will run them under allowance conditions: the Churchill Downs, the Louisville Breeders' Cup on May 4, and the Aristides BC on June 2.

Two stakes have undergone changes in distance: the Derby Trial from one mile to 7 1/2 furlongs, and the Louisville Handicap from 1 3/8 miles to 1 1/2 miles on the grass.

Two stakes have undergone purse cuts, from $200,000 to $100,000, although both races - the Cherokee Run and Very Subtle - were run last year as part of a special Breeders' Cup weekend.

One race has undergone a name change: the Mariah's Storm, a filly-mare turf sprint set for Nov. 18, formerly was known as the Pent Up Kiss.

The Churchill spring meet runs April 28 to July 8, and the fall meet from Oct. 28 to Nov. 24.