With a closing move down the stretch, the Preakness Stakes will join the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes in offering more money to its field of thoroughbred runners this year.

1/ST Racing and Gaming, owners of the Maryland Jockey Club, on Friday announced the prize money for the second leg of the Triple Crown will increase to $2 million, up from $1.65 million in 2022 and 2023. The Grade III Dinner Party Stakes, a 1 1/8th-mile turf race contested at Pimlico Race Course on Preakness day, will see its purse go up to $500,000. The entire card will have $3.3 million on the line, the largest amount in the history of the race, according to 1/ST.

The elevation brings Preakness neck and neck with the Belmont Stakes, which the New York Racing Association said in December would go from $1.5 million to $2 million.

But the Derby is still out in front by several lengths. This year, Churchill Downs Inc. upped its offering to $5 million, putting the Derby just behind the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic as one of the most lucrative races in the U.S.

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In an effort to attract stronger fields at some of its other premier races, 1/ST is offering a $5 million bonus to the owners of any horse that sweeps the 149th Preakness Stakes, the newly introduced California Crown and the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, all Grade I races.

The $1 million California Crown will be held Sept. 28 to open the fall meet at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, replacing the Awesome Again Stakes for 3-year-olds and up. It will be run at 1 1/8 miles.

And the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational will take its usual spot early in the racing calendar, on Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

Bettors can take a crack at a $5 million cash prize by correctly picking the top four finishers in all three legs in the Coast-to-Coast Pick ’Em Challenge sweepstakes on the 1/ST BET app, the company said. If no perfect entry is submitted, the wager with the most correct picks will yield a $100,000 prize.

There’s a bonus for turf horses, too. Owners who win the Dinner Party Stakes, the Grade II California Crown John Henry Turf and the Grade I Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational will receive an additional $2.5 million.

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With purse increases, bonuses and prizes for bettors, 1/ST said it is injecting an additional $25 million into horse racing.

Belinda Stronach, chairwoman and CEO of 1/ST, said the new series shows her organization’s commitment to the sport.

“My team and I continue to believe and invest in the modernization of Thoroughbred horse racing with a commitment to the highest level of international safety standards and horse care as we continue to elevate our already industry-leading wagering, entertainment and hospitality programs,” she said in a statement. “To back this up, 1/ST is adding to the legacy of the Preakness by increasing the purse, creating a new marquee race event for the majestic Santa Anita Park — The California Crown — and continuing to build on the phenomenal success of the Pegasus World Cup.”

Friday’s announcement comes nearly three months after officials put forward a plan that calls for the state to take over day-to-day operations of Pimlico. The dilapidated track would be revitalized and run by a newly formed nonprofit entity, but 1/ST would keep ownership of the Preakness Stakes and license the rights to the state.

During a presentation to the Maryland Thoroughbred Racetrack Operating Authority, officials with 1/ST said Preakness, which for years brought in enough revenue to keep the Maryland horse racing industry solvent, lost money for organizers in 2022 and 2023.

The 149th Preakness Stakes is scheduled for May 18.

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