05/13/2014 9:45AM

Trainers competing for bonus money in Pimlico stakes


When the New York Racing Association announced major increases to its stakes purses this year, longtime Pimlico racing secretary Georgeanne Hale felt she had to do something to compete.

So, Pimlico has come up with a $100,000 bonus system that is enticing trainers to enter more horses than they might have otherwise in the 15 stakes to be run here Friday and Saturday.

“We felt we had to come up with a way to get bigger fields for fans to bet on Preakness Weekend,” said Hale, the racing secretary here since 2000.

Under the new system, the trainer with the most points will get a $50,000 bonus. Second place is worth $25,000, on down to $2,000 for sixth place. Points are awarded on the following basis: 10 for first, seven for second, five for third, three for fourth, and one for simply having a starter.

Todd Pletcher, Wesley Ward, and Mike Maker are among the trainers who have stepped up their entries in the Pimlico stakes.

“Last year, Pletcher only ran one the whole weekend,” Hale said.

Pletcher’s presence is far more noticeable Friday, as he has two entries each in the Black-Eyed Susan and Pimlico Special, among other stakes. Entries for the Saturday card were to be drawn Wednesday.