01/27/2006 1:00AM

Top two stakes now $1 million apiece


Colonial Downs has beefed up the purses of two of its biggest races to create a pair of $1 million turf stakes this season.

The million dollar races are the Virginia Derby, which received a $250,000 purse increase and was upgraded to Grade 2 status, and the Colonial Turf Cup, which was doubled in value. Those two races account for nearly two-thirds of the entire 2006 stakes package of $3.23 million at Colonial Downs.

The 1 3/16-mile Colonial Turf Cup on June 24 and the 1 1/4-mile Virginia Derby on July 16 are also the first two legs in the $3.65 million Grand Slam of Grass series for 3-year-olds. The other two races are the Secretariat at Arlington Park and the Breeders' Cup Turf, this year at Churchill Downs. Any horse who can sweep all four races wins a $3 million bonus.

Colonial will present two other graded stakes, the Grade 3 All Along Breeders' Cup for fillies and mares on turf and the Grade 2 David "Zeke" Ferguson Memorial, a steeplechase race.

The only other race worth more than the track's standard $60,000 for minor stakes is the Virginia Oaks, a $200,000 race on the undercard of the Virginia Derby.

2006 stakes schedule

Sat.,June 17John D. Marsh3YO*1 1/16 miles (T)$60,000
Sun.,June 18Oakley Stakes3YO F*1 1/16 miles (T)60,000
Sat., June 24Colonial Turf Cup3YO1 3/16 miles (T)1,000,000
Sat., June 24All Along BC (G3)F&M, 3YO & Up1 1/8 miles (T)200,000
Sun.,June 25Buckland StakesF&M, 3YO & Up5 1/2 furlongs (T)60,000
Sat.,July 1Brookmeade StakesF&M, 3YO & Up*1 1/16 miles (T)60,000
Sun.,July 2D.G. Van Clief Stakes3YO & Up*1 1/16 miles (T)60,000
Sat.,July 8Da Hoss Stakes3YO & Up1 mile (T)60,000
Sun., July 9W. Meredith Bailes Memorial3YO & Up*6 furlongs60,000
Sat.,July 15Virginia Derby (G2)3YO1 1/4 miles (T)1,000,000
Sat.,July 15Virginia Oaks3YO F1 1/8 miles (T)200,000
Sun., July 16Ferguson Mem. S'Chase (G2)3YO & Up2 1/4 miles (T)50,000
Sat., July 22Somethingroyal StakesF&M, 3YO & Up*5 1/2 furlongs (T)60,000
Sun.,July 23Punch Line Stakes3YO & Up*5 furlongs (T)60,000
Sat.,July 29Tippett Stakes2YO F5 1/2 furlongs (T)60,000
Sun., July 30Chenery Stakes2YO5 1/2 furlongs (T)60,000
Sat.,Aug. 5Chesapeake Stakes3YO & Up6 furlongs60,000
Sun., Aug. 6Polynesian Stakes3YO & Up1 1/16 miles (T)60,000