02/12/2013 2:06PM

Keeneland boosts purses for overnight races


Purses for non-stakes races at the Keeneland spring meet will be increased by at least $1,000 per race, track officials announced Tuesday, with some races getting a raise of as much as $8,000 from previous levels.

Maiden and allowance races for 3-year-olds and upward will be run for a minimum of $58,000, while those same classes of races for 2-year-olds will be run for at least $52,000. For years, most of those races had been contested for $50,000. Also, purses for claiming races will increase by $1,000.

In all, the overnight purse structure at the Lexington, Ky., track will be increased by a gross of $627,000, bringing projected per-day purses to about $540,000, according to a track media release. The spring stakes schedule, announced last month, is expected to offer more than $3.6 million in purses.

Purses are funded by the proceeds from the four annual auctions at the Keeneland Association; revenue from all-sources wagering on live racing at Keeneland; and profits from the new online wagering site, Keeneland Select.

“True to our mission, Keeneland continues to invest in the betterment of Thoroughbred racing – even as that mission is made increasingly difficult because we are competing against racetracks that are funded by alternative gaming revenue,” Keeneland president Bill Thomason said in the release. “We remain committed to finding ways to help our industry and our horsemen because we believe racing is a great sport, and we remain excited about its future.”