11/19/2010 3:39PM

Churchill launches second round of purse increases


Churchill announced Friday that overnight purses for the final eight days are being bumped 20 percent, marking the second increase in a week.

The track increased purses by an average 6.3 percent on Nov. 12. The hikes are being attributed to higher than projected wagering from all sources since the 21-day meet began Oct. 31.

Officials said the increase is for the final 83 non-stakes races, effective with the Friday card. On average, purses will be increased about $6,600 per race. The revised total projection for purses is about $6.8 million, up from the original forecast of $6.2 million, for an average of nearly $460,000 per program. Those figures do not include the Nov. 5-6 Breeders’ Cup days.

Churchill president Kevin Flanery said in a media release that despite what appears to be good news, “these positive purse adjustments aren’t long-term solutions to the problems we continue to face in Kentucky’s signature horse racing industry. Purses remain well shy of their highest levels of recent years, and Kentucky still isn’t on a level playing field with states whose racetracks have an immense competitive advantage by having their purses fueled by slot-machine and casino revenues.”