Pimlico to Offer $5.5M Preakness Bonus

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Lookin At Lucky (7), with Martin Garcia aboard, moves over the finish line to win the 135th Preakness horse race at Pimlico Race Course, Saturday, May 15, 2010, in Baltimore.

    The owner of Pimlico Race Course said it will offer $5.5 million in shared bonuses to the winning owner and trainer at the 2011 Preakness Stakes.

    MID Developments Inc. announced Friday the Preakness 5.5 bonus program. The winning owner would receive $5 million and the trainer would get $500,000.

    MID owns Pimlico, Gulfstream Park in Florida, Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields in California and XpressBet, Inc.

    The program would allow both East and West Coast-based 3-year-old colts to qualify by having preliminary races at Gulfstream, Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields.

    MID chairman Frank Stronach says he hopes the bonus will create a great event for racing fans.

    As a result of MID's bonus, Santa Anita says it is proposing increasing the Santa Anita Derby purse from $750,000 to $1 million. At Gulfstream, the Florida Derby purse will increase to $1 million.

    To qualify for the Preakness bonus at Santa Anita, a horse must win either the Robert Lewis Stakes or the San Felipe Stakes, then go on to win the Santa Anita Derby.

    At Gulfstream, a horse must win either the Holy Bull Stakes or the Fountain of Youth, then go on to win the Florida Derby.

    The winner of the El Camino Real at Golden Gate would qualify for Preakness bonus if it goes on to win the Santa Anita Derby.

    XpressBet will offer a consolation prize of $500,000 to the owner and $50,000 to the trainer to be awarded to the Preakness winner if that horse wasn't eligible for the $5.5 million bonus, but ran in one of the qualifying races and finished in the money at the Santa Anita or Florida derbys.

    The 2011 Preakness, the middle leg of the Triple Crown, will be held May 21.

    "What a fantastic idea," Pimlico president Tom Chuckas said. "I believe this is truly an effort to improve the quality of racing during the Triple Crown season."

    MID chief operating officer Don Cameron says the bonus program should result in increased field sizes and better quality horses, which in turn should generate higher wagering.