A $70,000 race for 3-year-olds on the turf, the Harry Henson Stakes, will be the scheduled highlight of the 54-day Hollywood Park spring/summer thoroughbred racing season opener Thursday.
The highlight of the first weekend will be Saturday's Gold Rush Day, with purses totaling $845,000.
The meet, which will end July 17, will include 49 stakes races, worth a total of $5.2 million. Seven of the main races will be Grade I. The most prestigious will be the July 9 Hollywood Gold Cup, worth $500,000, and the July 16 American Oaks, worth $250,000.
Racing secretary Martin Panza has announced a boost of between 16% and 20% on the scheduled overnight purses. One example: Maiden races on turf, worth $42,000 last year, will be worth $50,000.
Hollywood Park officials also announced the creation of a reduced-takeout Pick Five — the first five races of each program. The minimum bet will be 50 cents and the takeout will be 14%.