07/30/2008 11:00PM

Overnight purses get a boost


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Beginning Saturday, overnight purses at Hastings will increase by about 10 percent. The increase is not across the board, however. Management at Hastings is hoping to spur the local breeding industry and attract better horses by putting more money toward allowance and high-end claiming races.

“We feel that if we can increase our maiden special weight and first-level allowance purses that it will help the local breeders,” said Raj Mutti, Hastings general manager. “When potential buyers go to a yearling sale, they aren’t looking to buy bottom-level horses. If they can get out by winning a couple of allowance races they will be more inclined to be active in the local sales.”

Maiden special weight races at Hastings have been increased by 20 percent to $23,500. With the added bonus for locally bred horses, B.C.-breds will be running for a $26,500 purse. First-level allowance races have been increased from $21,300 to $25,500.

The bottom purse at Hastings has been moved up from $8,600 to $9,400, a 10 percent increase.

The reason for the increase is two-fold. Additional simulcast centers in the Vancouver area have helped the total handle go up. Also, an agreement on how to split simulcast revenues that was reached last year between the Thoroughbred sector and the Standardbred industry has had a positive impact.

“We’re now getting a fairer share of the money that is generated by wagering on Thoroughbreds,” said Mel Snow, the president of the local Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. “With the better numbers coming in from the teletheatres, things are really starting to look up. It’s a good first step and hopefully it will jump start the industry towards better things when the full slot floor opens up.”