06/23/2011 3:51PM

Hollywood Park raising purses


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Hollywood Park is raising overnight purses 10 percent effective June 30 for the final three weeks of the spring-summer meeting, the track’s president, Jack Liebau, said Thursday.

The meeting runs through July 17, and the purse increase will be in effect for the final 13 days of racing.

The track has underpaid overnight purses since the meeting began on April 21 because of cautious business estimates earlier this year, Liebau said.

“We were conservative with our projections,” Liebau said. “We have done better than expected, and we have an opportunity to increase purses in the last weeks of the meeting. The purse increase is a benefit to Hollywood Park and horsemen.”

The decision to increase purses was taken after consultation with the Thoroughbred Owners of California, which must authorize purse distributions in the state. “We’re very appreciative of the action that Hollywood Park has taken and we fully support it,” the owners’ group’s chief operating officer, Guy Lamothe, said Thursday.

Liebau said business in the last two weeks was better than the early weeks of the meeting, but said that all-sources handle remains down by 5 percent from the 2010 meeting.

The increase is essentially the second hike of the year. Before the start of the meeting, overnight purses were increased from 16 to 20 percent from 2010 levels because of legislation passed last year that raised the takeout on exotic wagers and dedicated the additional revenue to overnight purses.