Updated on 06/11/2012 1:14PM

Hollywood Park cuts overnight purses


The purse cut announced by Betfair Hollywood Park officials Saturday erased a purse increase that had track officials optimistic earlier this year about the prospects for the spring-summer meeting.

In April, before the start of the meeting on April 26, officials announced that purses for maiden special weight and allowance races would be raised $2,000, and that purses for some claiming races would be increased by $1,000 over 2011 levels. Saturday’s purse cut essentially nullified those gains.

The track announced that purses for non-claiming and maiden special weight races were cut by $2,000 and purses for all claiming races were cut by $1,000. The changes take effect on Thursday for the remainder of the meeting, which runs through July 15.

The track cited a decline in business caused by lower field sizes as a reason for the reduction. Last weekend, track president Jack Liebau said handle had declined 5 percent compared to 2011.

In addition to the cuts for overnight races,  the value of three stakes were cut by $50,000 – the American Oaks on July 14 will be worth $350,000, while the Landaluce Stakes and Hollywood Juvenile Championship on that day will be worth $150,000.

Track officials said that a decline in field size contributed to the loss of business Through Sunday, the 29th day of the 50-day meeting, fields averaged 7.44 runners per race, compared to 7.62 per race for the corresponding period last year. For the entire 2011 spring-summer meeting, fields averaged 7.62 starters.