The Preakness 5.5 is designed to allow both east and west coast based three-year-olds to qualify by having the preliminary races at Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields.
To qualify for the Preakness 5.5 at Gulfstream Park, a horse must win either the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes or the Grade II Fountain of Youth, and then go on to win the Grade I Florida Derby on Sunday, April 3, 2011.
Gulfstream Park General Manager, Steve Calabro, announced “the Florida Derby purse will increase from $750,000 to $1,000,000 and expects the Preakness 5.5 will add another level of excitement to the three-year-old season at Gulfstream Park.” He added that “Gulfstream and Santa Anita have long and storied traditions of producing the finest three-year-olds in the country. I expect this will produce Gulfstream’s finest winter racing.”
Santa Anita Park
To qualify for the Preakness 5.5 at Santa Anita Park, a horse must win either the Grade II Bob Lewis or the Grade II San Felipe, and then go on to win the Grade I Santa Anita Derby.
George Haines, President of Santa Anita Park, stated that “I am delighted to announce that Santa Anita proposes to increase the Santa Anita Derby purse to $1 million. The competition along the Triple Crown trail is very heated. Every track with serious stakes for three-year-olds is going after the stars of the division. We’re providing a major incentive to owners and trainers to make plans to run at MID tracks this coming winter and spring.”
Golden Gate Fields
The winner of the Grade III El Camino Real, which is scheduled to be run on February 12, 2011 at Golden Gate Fields, will also qualify for the Preakness 5.5 if it goes on to win the Santa Anita Derby. Robert Hartman, General Manager of Golden Gate Fields, stated that “we’re excited that Golden Gate is part of the Preakness 5.5. This bonus opportunity will mean a great deal to our horsemen in Northern California.”
XpressBet Consolation Prize
To add to the excitement of the Preakness, XpressBet will sponsor the XpressBet .55, a consolation prize of $550,000 ($500,000 to the owner and $50,000 to the trainer) to be awarded to the winner of the 2011 Preakness if that horse was not eligible for the Preakness $5.5 million bonus but was a runner in one of the initial qualifying races and finished first, second or third at the Santa Anita Derby or the Florida Derby.
Ron Luniewski, President of XpressBet, (http://www.XpressBet.com) stated that “I am really excited to support the owners and breeders in the 2011 three-year-old season. As we move towards the three-year-old season, we will be offering some fun wagers based on the Preakness 5.5 and the XpressBet .55.”
Maryland Jockey Club
Maryland Jockey Club, the oldest continuous professional sports organization in the United States, will announce on October 1, 2010 a filly bonus program culminating at the 2011 Black Eyed Susan at Pimlico. The 136th running of the Grade I Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, will be contested on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at Pimlico Race Course. From 1997-2009, 11 Preakness winners were named champion three-year-old males at the Eclipse Awards.
“What a fantastic idea,” said Pimlico Race Course President Tom Chuckas. “I believe this is truly an effort to improve the quality of racing during the Triple Crown season. The public will benefit from the incentives in this promotion.”
Don Cameron, Chief Operating Officer of MID noted that “in addition to the benefits to the Preakness, this program should result in significantly increased field sizes and quality in all of the pre-qualifying races at Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields which should result in improved handle for those tracks as well as XpressBet. The Company is in the process of receiving sponsorship proposals for this program and is in the process of acquiring appropriate insurance coverage for the Preakness 5.5.”