06/29/2007 12:00AM

NYRA increases purses


The New York Racing Association announced significant purse increases for the last three weeks of the Belmont summer meet as well as for Saratoga.

Beginning Wednesday, purses for Belmont will go up by 12 percent, or $61,826 a day, compared with last year. The purse increase for Saratoga will be about 13.6 percent, or $92,694 a day more than they were last year.

At Belmont, open-company allowance purses will increase by $10,000, while maiden special weight races will go up by $9,000 and claimers and maiden claimers by $4,000. New York-bred allowance purses will increase by $6,000, while New York-bred maiden event purses will go up by $5,000.

At Saratoga, open-company allowance race purses will increase by $17,000 and be worth $68,000. A maiden special weight race at the Spa will go up by $11,000, while claimers and maiden claimers will each go up by $6,000. New York-bred allowance race purses will increase by $11,000 to $62,000 while statebred maiden purses will shoot up by $9,000.

All overnight stakes beginning Wednesday will go up from $65,000 to $75,000.

According to NYRA's president, Charles Hayward, the money for these increases comes from an underpayment of purses earlier in the year compared with 2006 and an increased purse cushion.

"If you go back and look at Aqueduct, what we paid out through purses through March was down $2 million year on year, and our wagering was pretty constant," Hayward said. "We did a calculation and a projection that we want to make sure during 2007 we pay out all the purses we earn in 2007. This increase we hope will result in making sure we pay out everything we earn for the year."

Rick Violette, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, said: "This is great news. It is good to see that the lines of communication between NYTHA and NYRA are open and the immediate results are purse increases, which will benefit every segment of the Thoroughbred racing community."