07/03/2012 3:45PM

Del Mar offering higher purses for upcoming meet


Del Mar has raised purses in most categories for its upcoming meeting, with an added emphasis on higher prize money for maiden special weight and allowance races.

The condition book, detailing the majority of the races to be offered in the first two weeks of the meeting, from July 18-29, was published last week. The meeting runs through Sept. 5.

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The largest increase is for maiden races. This year, a sprint for maiden 2-year-olds is worth $70,000, an increase of $7,000 from last year. A first-level allowance race, or optional $80,000 claimer, has been increased from $65,000 in 2011 to $71,000. A second-level allowance race, or optional $62,500 claimer, has been hiked by $3,000, to $73,000.

For claiming races, purses for horses valued at $10,000 and below remain the same as last year. Other claimers races have received moderate purse increases.

A sprint for $10,500 to $12,500 claimers has been raised $1,000, to $28,000, while a sprint for fillies and mares entered for claiming prices ranging from $28,000 to $32,000 will be worth $45,000, an increase of $3,000. A starter allowance for nonwinners of two who won a maiden race for a maximum claiming price of $40,000 has been increased $3,000, to $40,000.

Del Mar director of racing Tom Robbins said the increases were made in consultation with the Thoroughbred Owners of California, which must approve purse agreements with the state’s racetracks. The increases come a year after Del Mar underpaid purses by approximately $1.35 million, resulting in a retroactive payment late last year.

“We were pleasantly surprised with how things went last year,” Robbins said of purse levels.

In addition to the higher purses, Del Mar is continuing its program of paying bonuses to the owners of horses who ship from out of state to race at the meeting, provided the horses are not first-time starters and have not raced in California in the last six months.

The bonus has two features – a $1,000 bonus for all starters, regardless of the type of race, and a 25 percent purse bonus for those in overnight races. Last year, there were 107 horses that qualified for bonuses, a number that is expected to rise this year, Robbins said.

Robbins was reluctant to predict how many out-of-state runners could run at the meeting. Last year, $165,000 was paid out in bonuses, with Del Mar and the TOC sharing the cost, Robbins said.

Gooden Uggla More than 1 year ago
As I stepped outside my Solana Beach condo today, 72 degrees at noon, I remembered the heat, humidity, mosquitos and rain that I experience every time I travel to Saratoga. The East Coast really needs to find a nicer place to summer, the Spa is getting pretty creaky. Hollywood Park drags the handle down in SoCal, not exactly a secret, and if you're lucky enough to have artificially high casino-created purses, good for you! We do it the old-fashioned way, we earn it.... Del Mar has zero casino income, and yet these are it's numbers from last year in the depths of a recession. You wish your tracks could do as well without being propped up. "Overall, Del Mar’s handle figures showed a slight decline of 4.2%, dipping from $12,133,302 to $11,628,660 on a daily average basis. The 2011 total handle was $430,260,422 as opposed to last year’s $448,932,160."
David Oppedisano More than 1 year ago
I can't argue about the heat and humidity - or the occasional rain storm - but that's about where the validity of your Del Mar-versus-Saratoga, West Coast-versus-East Coast comparison ends. I'll take creaky old Saratoga, with its majestic elm trees, back yard picnic area and dual turf courses, over the concrete jungle of Del Mar any day. Your omission of ANY mention of the quality of racing was glaring. Unless you are a fan of the steady stream of $10,000 claiming sprints that Del Mar is known for, there is no comparison. And I see you also didn't talk about turf racing, but I guess I can understand why, given Del Mar essentially has none. I am surprised that you overlooked the one true advantage Del Mar has over Saratoga...that is, if one goes to the track to view a different kind of flesh than horse flesh. With its proximity to the beach, I admit one will see more scantilly clad, bikini-top-sporting young ladies on Del Mar's concrete apron than in Saratoga's back yard. As a former 19-year resident of San Diego County who lived in upstate New York before SoCal and lives there now, I say you're missing the mark. Even though I loathe heat, humidity, mosquitoes and sloppy tracks as much as the next person, I'd happily take a day at Saratoga even with all of those maladies over one at Del Mar any time. In fact, back before the days of inter-track wagering, I would travel to Tijuana to bet on the races at Saratoga over a TV screen before I'd drive up the road to Del Mar to watch those pitiful races live.
Mark Lipsky More than 1 year ago
When times are good, California tracks give the majority of purse increases to maiden, allowance and stakes races where the fields are small while continuously screwing over the claimers where the fields are large. If and when times get bad and the racing offices need to reduce purses, they ALWAYS do everything in their power to cut the claiming purses as much as they can while trying to minimize cuts to the maiden, allowance and stakes races. I owned claiming horses in Southern California for almost 20 years and had incredibly good luck and still wound up losing quite a bit of money as claiming owners continue to get SCREWED over by the powers that decide these matters. Many prominent high profile claiming owners have stopped racing in California and all of these high profile claiming outfits that dominate the midwest and east coast tracks won't step foot anywhere near California racetracks and for good reason. The reason why California racetracks can no longer race 5 days a week and have tons of trouble filling entries 4 days a week is because so many claiming owners in California have left and WHO CAN BLAME THEM? Now that Del Mar is once again allocating more and more purse monies to the higher end races and screwing over the claimers, more owners are going to leave and Hollywood Park/Santa Anita will wind up going to 3 day a week programs. I have heard all kinds of excuses from inept management at California race tracks as to why there is such an entry shortage but none of the other tracks across the country are having problems filling racecards. This is because other tracks allocate a more fair distribution across all races. Maiden claimers and low level claiming races always have full fields that betting patrons love to wager on. Yet inept management continues to pour in money to straight maiden special weight, allowance and stakes horses which hold the key to the patent office of 5-6 horse fields.
W.G. More than 1 year ago
Mark: Del Mar and other tracks need to get away from increasing purses for claimers and put more money into maiden, allowance races and high-priced claiming races. If it were me, I would actually cap purses for claiming races to where the winner's share can not exceed the claiming price and can be no more than 60% above the claiming price overall. AOC's would be required to have a claiming price representative of this as well. While Saratoga as it is will have maiden races with an $80,000 purse (short) and $85,000 purse (long) with I believe N1x Allowance events at $82,000 (short) and $87,000 (long), I would also be putting a much greater emphasis on longer-distance races. In my case, those purses would be boosted for races of 1 1/4 Miles or longer on dirt and 1 1/2 Miles or longer on turf to $90,000 for maidens, $95,000 for an N1x Allowance, $100,000 for an N2x Allowance, $110,000 for an N3x Allowance and $125,000 for an N4x/N$Y Allowance in an attempt to have more horses run the classic distances or longer (with more money put into stakes events going longer distances as well). That would be a greater incentive for trainers to seriously look at races going 10 (dirt) or 12 (turf) furlongs or longer if they know they would be going for far higher purses at those distances than sprinting.
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
when del mar decided to change the track,,it turned into quicksand and nobody could bet with any confidence once they hit the stretch,,,,good luck to those who want to challenge the del mar swamp
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Everybody loves to glamorize CA racing. DRF, TVG, the list is endless.
Roger More than 1 year ago
Del Mar handled $16 million Less last season vs 2010.HPark is currently handling $8 million LESS in 2012 vs 2011 handle numbers in which they were DOWN $36 million. With all due respect Mr.Robbins...how were you pleasantly surprised with things last year when DMR execs,TOC and CHRB Chairman all predicted a banner 2011 meet that simply never materialized.I also fail to see how you can RAISE purse levels given your track's handle performance the last 2 years and Santa Anita and HPark's results as well. The big tracks in 2012 have all been UP double digits in handle...,Keeneland,Aqueduct,Gulfstream,etc. following good/solid 2011 meets. CA Racing had a horrible 2011 season due to SB 1072 raising the exotic takeout levels and SA was only UP 7% this season after being DOWN over $130 million in handle in 2011. The DRF beat writer has chosen for the past year to ignore the declining handle in CA and the negative consequences of SB 1072.