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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pimlico Spring Stakes Schedule Announced

The Maryland Jockey Club announced the 2009 Pimlico spring stakes schedule after reaching agreement with both the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Horse Breeders Association. The Pimlico schedule was approved by the Maryland Racing Commission at its monthly meeting.

The headline event of the six-week stand that begins Saturday, April 18 is the 134th running of the $1-million Preakness Stakes (G1), the middle jewel of the famed Triple Crown, on May 16. The 20-day meeting at the historic Baltimore track will conclude Saturday, May 23.

The marquee meet of the Maryland racing season will feature 21 stakes races for purses of $2.62 million. Sixteen of the added-money races, including all 9 of the graded stakes for the meet, are slated for Preakness week, including nine on Preakness Day.

Preakness weekend features 16 stakes races for more than $2.3 million. The Friday, May 15 card features 7 stakes races, 8 for fillies and mares, highlighted by the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies.

“We are always thrilled to go back to Pimlico in the spring,” said Tom Chuckas, Maryland Jockey Club president and chief operating officer. “Despite the current climate we felt it was important to keep the stakes schedule strong, especially Preakness weekend when the best of the best come to town.”

For the third time this decade the Pimlico Special (G1) has been put on a 1-year hiatus due to a purse shortage. Introduced by Alfred Vanderbilt in 1937, the Pimlico Special was the first major stakes race in the United States by invitation only. The 1938 running played host to one of America’s most historic moments when Seabiscuit upset War Admiral in the famed match race. The long-awaited winner-take-all showdown was named “Race of the Century” by Sports Illustrated in 1999 and forever immortalized in the movie Seabiscuit in 2003.

The Pimlico Special was also cancelled in 2002 and 2007 for similar reasons.

However the William Donald Schaefer Handicap (G3) returns after not being carded a year ago. The $100,000 test for older horses at 1-1/8 miles has been a staple on the Preakness undercard since 1991. The conditions of the race are comparable to the Pimlico Special.

Other newsworthy changes include suspension of the Barbaro Stakes, a $100,000 race for 3-year olds on the Preakness undercard and moving of the Tesio Stakes from opening weekend to Kentucky Derby day. The 1-1/8 mile test on the main track has been a springboard to the Preakness for such horses as Deputed Testamony (1983), Oliver’s Twist (1995) and Magic Weisner (2002).

The opening day of spring stand features a pair of Maryland-bred stakes races for fillies and mares.

First post for 27 days of the meeting will be 1:10 p.m. with adjustments on Preakness (10:15 a.m.), Black-Eyed Susan (12:15 p.m.) and Kentucky Derby (12:45 p.m.) days.

The Pimlico stable area re-opens for training on April 1. It will close on June 6.

The current Laurel Park winter meeting will conclude its 15-week run on April 11.

2009 Pimlico Spring Stakes Schedule
Date Stakes Grade Conditions Distance Purse
18-Apr Hookedonthefeelin 3YO fillies (MD-breds) 5 furlongs (T) 50,000
18-Apr Geisha F & M 3&UP (MD-breds) 1 1/16 mile 50,000
25-Apr Henry Clark 3 & UP 1 mile (T) 75,000
2-May Federico Tesio 3 YO 1 1/8 mile 75,000
15-May Black-Eyed Susan II 3 YO Fillies 1 1/8 mile 150,000
15-May Adena Stallions’ Miss Preakness III 3 YO Fillies 6 furlongs 100,000
15-May Jim McKay Turf Sprint 3 & UP 5 furlongs (T) 100,000
15-May Hilltop 3 YO Fillies 1 1/16 mile (T) 50,000
15-May The Very One F & M 3 & UP 5 furlongs (T) 50,000
15-May Skipat F & M 3 & UP 6 furlongs 50,000
15-May Kattegat’s Pride F & M 3 & UP (MD breds) 1 1/16 mile 35,000
16-May Preakness I 3 YO 1 3/16 mile 1,000,000
16-May Dixie II 3 & UP 1 1/8 mile (T) 150,000
16-May Allair duPont Distaff II F & M 3 & UP 1 1/16 mile 150,000
16-May William Donald Schaefer III 3 & UP 1 1/16 mile 100,000
16-May Maryland Sprint III 3 & UP 6 furlongs 100,000
16-May Hirsch Jacobs III 3 YO 6 furlongs 100,000
16-May Gallorette III F & M 3 & UP 1 1/16 mile (T) 100,000
16-May Woodlawn 3 YO 1 mile (T) 50,000
16-May Deputed Testamony 3 & UP (MD breds) 1 1/16 mile 35,000
23-May Shine Again F & M 3 & UP (MD-breds) 1 1/16 mile 50,000
21 stakes (9 graded) 2,620,000

Horse racing news edited from www.pimlico.com.

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