11/18/2011 3:58PM

Del Mar awards $1.37 million to owners of horses in summer overnight races

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Del Mar has made a retroactive payment of $1.37 million to owners whose horses earned prize money in overnight races during the summer meeting, the track announced on Friday.

Before the meeting ended in September, the track announced that a retroactive payment would be made, estimating the payment to be approximately $1.5 million. The final amount was not confirmed until recently, following the tabulation of mutuel handle figures from various sources.

The $1.37 million payment equates to 10 a percent purse increase, the track said in a statement.

The 2011 meeting had an average of 8.4 starters per race, compared with 8.2 starters in 2010. For 2011, Del Mar launched an incentive program to lure overnight horses to the meeting, paying bonuses to owners whose horses earned prize money in their first starts in overnight races. More than 100 horses qualified for the bonus.

“Given the uncertainty of the horse inventory, we had some concerns coming into the meeting, but we put some things in place to deal with the situation and the response was excellent,” Del Mar racing secretary Tom Robbins said in a statement.

Del Mar has raised purses retroactively in the past, including a $1 million payment in 2004.