04/08/2011 1:49PM

Hollywood boosts purses for upcoming meet

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Overnight purses will rise at the upcoming Hollywood Park meeting, significantly for maiden special weight, allowance races and starter allowance races, with some categories for claimers higher than what is offered at the current Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.

Overall, overnight purses will be approximately $290,000 to $300,000 per day, 16 to 20 percent higher than the $250,000 paid at the 2010 spring-summer meeting, according to racing secretary Martin Panza.

Percentage-wise, the highest increases have come in allowance races and starter allowance races. A first condition allowance race for sprinters will be worth $52,000, an increase of $9,000 from last year. At the current Santa Anita meeting, the same race is worth $56,000.

Starter allowance races for sprinters who won a maiden race for a maximum claiming price of $40,000 ($50,000 for California-breds) and have not won twice will be worth $35,000, an increase of $10,000 from the 2010 meeting, and $7,000 higher than at Santa Anita. In addition, a maiden race over a mile on turf at Hollywood Park will carry a purse of $50,000, up from $42,000 last year, but $4,000 less than what is offered at Santa Anita.

The condition book for the first three weeks of the Hollywood Park meeting was released earlier this month, detailing the races expected likely to be run from opening day, April 21, to May 8. The increase in overnight purses is a result of 2010 legislation that raised the takeout on exotic wagers.

Panza said the increases are designed to retain horses that are being considered for other circuits, perhaps attract additional horses to California, and to help owners meet costs.

“We thought let’s give the starter a big purse, and let the maiden 25, 32 or 40 winner make some money,” he said. “We’ll see if people respond. Usually people go where the money is, and hopefully this helps the owner out who has a maiden claimer winner and don’t want to lose it.”

Purses are also higher for mid-level claimers, such as sprinters in $20,000 claimers who will run for a purse of $29,000, $2,000 higher than last year and $4,000 higher than at Santa Anita.