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Kentucky Derby purse up to $3 million

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Derby’s purse will be raised to $3 million this May, an increase of $1 million and the first boost in 14 years.

Churchill Downs said Thursday the winner of the 145th running will receive $1.86 million. The runner-up will earn $600,000, with third place worth $300,000, fourth place $150,000 and fifth place $90,000.

The Derby purse had been $2 million since 2005 and $1 million from 1996-2004.

Track President Kevin Flanery attributes the increase to more bettors using historical racing machines – the electronic form of parimutuel betting – at a recently opened facility near the track.

The second and third legs of the Triple Crown offer total purses of $1.5 million in the Preakness and Belmont stakes.

The purse for the Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on May 3 was raised by $250,000 to $1.25 million. It had been worth $1 million since 2011 and was worth $500,000 from 1996-2010.

Churchill Downs also increased purses for some races on the Derby Day undercard on May 4.

Santa Anita cancels racing after heavy rain inundates track

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Santa Anita has canceled its eight-race card because of wet weather after 3+ inches of rain dropped on the Southern California racetrack in three days.

Officials at the track in Arcadia say heavy overnight rains and more rain throughout the day Thursday made it necessary to cancel. They say the track will make every effort to reschedule the races in the immediate future.

Track superintendent Andy LaRocco says an additional 2 inches of rain was forecast for Thursday.

Live racing will resume on Friday with eight races.

Gunmetal Gray rallies to win Sham Stakes

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Gunmetal Gray rallied from last to win the $100,000 Sham Stakes by a length, giving the gray colt qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Gunmetal Gray ran a mile in 1:38.96 at Santa Anita on Saturday.

Trained and co-owned by Jerry Hollendorfer, Gunmetal Gray was caught six-deep turning for home before overtaking longshot Sueno late to earn his first stakes victory in his fifth career start. The colt was beaten 12 1/2 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November at Churchill Downs.

Gunmetal Gray returned $9.40, $4.80 and $3.40 at 7-2 odds in the field of seven and earned 10 points on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.

“Mike sat back, bided his time and he ran them down,” Hollendorfer said. “We came back here after the Breeders’ Cup and he’s really trained well the past two months.”

Sueno returned $9.60 and $5.20 at 18-1 odds. Much Better was three-quarters of a length back in third and paid $5 to show for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Coliseum, the 3-5 favorite trained by Baffert, finished sixth.

The victory, worth $60,000, increased Gunmetal Gray’s career earnings to $217,200, with two wins in five starts.