Dates Announced For 2018 Virginia-Bred Racing Series In Maryland; Trainer/Owner Bonus Program Added To The Series
The series of Virginia-bred and sired thoroughbred races in Maryland that has been so popular the past several years will return again in 2018 and will feature a new format. Previously, the three separate Saturday programs shared a combination of stakes and maiden events. The new version will offer maiden races on Friday and stakes exclusively on Saturday. A total of 18 races will be carded — 13 stakes at $75,000 each and five maiden races at $40,000 apiece.
Saturday stakes days are scheduled for June 23rd (Edward Evans, White Oak Farm, Tyson Gilpin & Nellie Cox), August 4th (Hansel, William Backer, Meadow Stables & Camptown) and September 22nd (Bert Allen, Brookemeade, Oakley, Punch Line & Jamestown). A pair of maiden races will take place Friday June 22nd and a trio on Friday August 3rd.
Two other aspects are new to the Series. A $20,000 Trainers and $20,000 Owners bonus program will offer awards to the overall top five leading trainers and owners that participate in the series. Points over the 18 scheduled races will be totaled at the end. Trainers and owners will be awarded five points for a win, four points for second, three points for third, four points for fourth and one for every finisher after fourth place. $10,000 will be awarded for first place, $4,000 for second, $3,000 for third, $2,000 for fourth and $1,000 for fifth.
Horses that entered the new Virginia certified residency program in 2017 will be eligible to compete in one of the maiden races and could potentially enter a stakes race as well. A 5 1/2 furlong maiden sprint for two-year-olds is slated for August 3rd and is open to Virginia-bred, sired or certified horses. The Jamestown Stakes, slated for September 22nd, could include certified horses if there are less than six Virginia-bred or Sired horses entered initially.
Frank Petramalo, HBPA Executive Director, presented Series details at the Virginia Racing Commission’s meeting on April 18th. Commissioners unanimously approved an expenditure of $1,085,000 from the HBPA purse fund and $130,000 from the Breeders Fund to execute the series as presented. Mr. Petramalo also noted that the Commonwealth Derby and Commonwealth Oaks — a pair of Grade 3 stakes that had been run in Maryland the last several years and partially funded by the HBPA — will not be run this year. He anticipates that both will be contested at Colonial Downs in 2019 and retain their graded status.