07/25/2012 4:48PM

Del Mar: Bonus payments on the rise

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DEL MAR, Calif. - A two-tiered bonus system designed to lure horses from outside of California for the Del Mar meeting is on course for higher distributions than the 2011 season, the first year the bonuses were offered.

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The bonus has two features – a $1,000 bonus for all starters, regardless of the type of races, and a 25-percent bonus to horses who earn purses in overnight races. First-time starters and horses who have run in the state in the last six months are not eligible.

Through Sunday, the fifth day of the meeting, bonuses of $63,075 had been distributed, according to track officials. The figure included $1,000 bonuses to 26 starters, and $37,035 through bonuses in overnight races.

Four horses from out-of-state won overnight races. Two had previously started at Belmont Park, with one each from Calder and Turf Paradise.

Last year, for the entire 37-day meeting, there were 107 horses who earned bonuses of $168,516.

Del Mar’s director of racing, Tom Robbins, said on Wednesday that he expects 150 horses to earn bonuses this year, and for last year’s payout to be exceeded. This summer, approximately 70 horses were sent to Del Mar by Texas-based trainers.

“It’s hard to predict the numbers,” Robbins said. “What make up a part of it are local people who buy horses.”