02/09/2012 2:07PM

Thistledown shifts 10 stakes to Fridays


Thistledown plans to run 10 of its 17 stakes this year on Fridays, while its signature race, the Grade 3 Ohio Derby, will be part of a proposed two-day pick three and daily double while remaining a Saturday race in early July, officials with the Cleveland-area track announced Thursday.

The $100,000 Ohio Derby, won last year by eventual Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile champion Caleb’s Posse, will be run July 7 as the richest race on the Thistledown stakes schedule. Officials hope to win approval from the state racing commission for the race to become part of a multi-day gimmick wagers with the $75,000 Cleveland Gold Cup on July 6 and the $50,000 Cleveland Kindergarten on the Ohio Derby undercard.

Racing secretary Bill Couch said the move to Fridays for events such as the five-race Best of Ohio series on Oct. 12 “will give the state program a simulcast boost by taking them off New York and Kentucky Breeders’ Cup preview Saturdays.”

The $907,000 in total stakes purses remains unchanged from 2011. Thistledown will run May 4 through Nov. 17.