07/29/2010 12:30PM

Arapahoe boosts purses

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Arapahoe Park in Aurora, Colo., will pay out record purses over the final three weeks of its current mixed meet because of a spike in handle. Increases to the track’s overnight races will go into effect on Saturday, while the purse for the Gold Rush Thoroughbred Futurity on the closing-day card Aug. 22 has been bumped up from $40,000 to $100,000.

The changes will lift purses to a record $100,000 a day, said Bill Powers, plant manager and racing secretary for Arapahoe. Purses have been averaging $83,000 a day.

“Our handle is up more than $1 million over the year before, through the same number of dates,” Powers said. “That’s quite a big deal for us.”

Arapahoe is a small track, and Powers said handle on its live races is averaging about $135,000 a day. Last year, that number was $84,000 a day. Powers attributes the increase in part to a jump in field size, from just more than eight starters per race last meet to close to 10 this meet.

Purses for all allowance races will be increased $2,000 each starting Saturday. Claiming races will be boosted $1,000 each, while maiden claiming and trial races will be bumped up by $500 each. Arapahoe has also increased the purse for its Classic, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up Aug. 15, from $30,000 to $50,000.

Nominations to the Gold Rush Futurity at six furlongs close Aug. 15.

Arapahoe on Saturday will open a new offtrack betting site, at Softball Country, a sporting complex in Denver. Account wagering is scheduled to go online before the end of August.