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Arapahoe Park kicks off 2014 season on Saturday; stakes dot opening weekend card

May 23, 2014     E-mail this page to a friend!

The Inaugural Stakes for Thoroughbreds, the Dash For Speed Stakes for Quarter Horses, and the Wathba Stud Farm Cup for Arabians highlight the opening weekend of the 2014 season at Arapahoe Park. Racing takes place at the Aurora, Colorado racecourse in 2014 from May 24 to August 17 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, as well as Memorial Day Monday. Post time for the first race each day is 1:00 p.m.

Sunday marks 30 years to the day that Arapahoe Park opened on May 25, 1984. After a hiatus following the first season, Arapahoe Park has featured a summer racing meet every year since 1992. Sunday’s $40,000 Inaugural Stakes for 3-year-olds over 6 furlongs features a field of seven headed by Alsono, a three-time stakes winner in New Mexico, and Fast But Furious, a two-time stakes winner at Arapahoe Park last year. The richest stakes races for Thoroughbreds this season are the $100,000 Arapahoe Park Classic for 3 year-olds and up at 1-1/8 miles on August 16 and the $100,000 Gold Rush Futurity for 2-year-olds at 6 furlongs on August 17. Because of an increase in wagering handle in 2013, Arapahoe Park doubled the purse of the Arapahoe Park Classic to its richest level right before last year’s running. Prior to last year’s last-minute increase, the last time Arapahoe Park contested two six-figure Thoroughbred stakes races was 1999.

The winners of Arapahoe Park’s three Quarter Horse derbies in 2013—Agillion in the Mile High Derby, One Famous Fire in the Rocky Mountain Derby, and Iza Sugar N Spice in the Lucille Rowe Derby—face off as part of a full field of 10 in Sunday’s $12,500 Dash For Speed Stakes at 330 yards for 3-year-olds and up. Arapahoe Park will also hold two trial races on Saturday for the Adequan Arapahoe Derby Challenge. The winner of the finals on June 7 advance to the Bank of America Challenge Championships at Prairie Meadows in Iowa on October 18. Arapahoe Park’s richest stakes race for Quarter Horses is the $130,000 estimated Mile High Futurity at 400 yards for 2-year-olds on August 17.

The Wathba Stud Farm Cup takes place in nine countries around the world, and Arapahoe Park hosts three races as part of the series for the first time this Sunday, on July 4, and then on August 10. Other Arabian stakes highlights are the COBRA Distaff Sprint on June 15 for fillies and mares and the COBRA Sprint on June 22. Both $20,000 stakes races over 6 furlongs have received Grade 3 status from the Arabian Jockey Club for 2014. They join the 1-1/8-mile, $25,000 COBRA Distaff Sponsored by Soaring Eagle Ranch on August 16 and the 1-1/4-mile, $25,000 COBRA Classic Sponsored by Crow Valley on August 17 as Grade 3 stakes races expected to attract some of the best Arabians in the country.

Total purses for 38 stakes races for Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, and Arabians are $1.6 million. “We’re excited to offer a richer stakes schedule than we have in the past,” Arapahoe Park plant manager and director of racing Bill Powers said. “Hopefully having two $100,000 Thoroughbred races to aim for will attract some new horsemen to race at Arapahoe Park and new fans to follow our races.”