09/05/2011 5:00PM

Del Mar to pay extra $1M in purses

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Del Mar’s business has been so far above projections this summer that the track announced on Monday it would pay an additional $1 million in purses, a record underpayment.

According to track officials, the payment will come to approximately 8 percent on top of the overnight purses already distributed this summer.

The meet ends Wednesday.

“This has been a delightful surprise for myself and others,” said Tom Robbins, Del Mar’s vice president for racing and racing secretary. “We had real concerns coming into this meet - regarding our horse inventory and the economics we are all facing these days - but the response by our horsemen and our fans has turned a difficult scenario into one of the most positive in Del Mar’s history.”

Del Mar’s field size is up this year to an average of 8.3 horses per race from last year’s 8.2. The handle is down slightly, but not as badly as feared, averaging $11 million per day.

The overnight purses at Del Mar, worked out between the track and the Thoroughbred Owners of California, are the highest in the country for a summer meet, surpassing even those at Saratoga.