03/25/2010 11:00PM

Hollywood to boost claimer purses

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Hollywood Park will redirect a portion of money available for marketing and promotions toward purses for lower-level claiming horses at the upcoming spring-summer meeting that begins on April 21, according to the track's racing secretary, Martin Panza.

Panza said the additional money, from the industry-run California Marketing Committee, will be directed to purses for horses running for prices ranging from $8,000 to $40,000, with the bulk of the increases geared toward horses running from $8,000 to $20,000.

The plan is designed to keep lower-level horses in California. In recent years, some horses who race at those levels have been sent to tracks such as Philadelphia Park and tracks in West Virginia, where slot machine revenue has greatly enhanced prize money for cheaper horses.

Under the new plan, $8,000 claimers would run for $13,000, and $10,000 claimers would run for $17,000. The increases would extend to horses running for claiming prices of $12,500 and $20,000 but would be less significant for horses running for claiming prices up to $40,000, Panza said.

"For the summer meet, we're going to try to help horsemen keep horses here," he said.

The California Marketing Committee was developed in the late 1990s for promotion and advertising, but a portion of funds from the committee have been redirected in the past to fund offset worker's compensation costs for trainers and to enhance purses on major racing days, such as the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, and Pacific Classic.