04/13/2012 2:22PM

Hollywood Park raising some overnight purses for spring-summer meet

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Overnight purses have been raised in several categories for the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting that begins April 26.

Purses for maiden special weight and allowance races have been raised $2,000 from the start of the 2011 spring-summer meeting, while purses for several categories of claiming races have been raised $1,000.

The condition book for the first two weeks of the meeting from April 26 to May 6, describing the races expected to be run, was published earlier this week.

The increases are similar to the final prize money offered last year, after a retroactive payment of 7 percent was enacted following higher-than-expected handle figures. The retroactive payment was distributed late last summer, well after the meeting was completed.

Hollywood Park racing secretary Martin Panza said some purse funds for the upcoming meeting were dedicated to higher stakes purses, notably an increase of the Snow Chief Stakes and Melair Stakes for 3-year-old California-breds from $150,000 and $125,000 last year to each being worth $300,000 this year.

The Grade 1 American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on turf has been increased from $250,000 in 2011 to $400,000 this year. The purses of four stakes for 2-year-olds in June and July also have been increased.

“Some money went to stakes at the request of the” Thoroughbred Owners of California, Panza said.

The TOC negotiates purse levels with racetracks throughout the state.

For overnight races, a maiden race for California-bred 2-year-old fillies over 4 1/2 furlongs has been increased, from $50,000 at the start of the 2011 spring-summer meeting to $52,000 this year. Some starter allowances were increased from $35,000 in 2011 to $37,000 this year.

A sprint for $10,500 to $12,500 claimers will be worth $24,000 this year, an increase of $1,000.

“The last couple of years, we’ve strengthened our claiming purses, trying to keep that lower-level group of people in business,” Panza said.

Speaking of the starter allowance purses, Panza said, “It gives a guy a chance to run for a nice chunk of change. We’re trying to help the people that run on the lower end and the middle.”

Hollywood Park’s meeting runs through July 15.