01/07/2004 1:00AM

Sam Houston cuts purses; handle off


Sam Houston Race Park in Houston has reduced overnight purses and some of its stakes purses because handle has lagged behind projections this meet. Overnight purses have been reduced by 7 percent, starting with the condition book that began on Dec. 18, while stakes purses will be affected starting Jan. 17.

The reductions put the average daily purse distribution at about $102,000.

Stakes worth $50,000 have been reduced to $40,000, beginning with the Sam Houston Distaff and Sam Houston Sprint Handicap on Jan. 17, while stakes with purses of $35,000 have been reduced to $30,000. The track did not reduce the purse for the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup on Jan. 17 or the $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf on April 10.

Handle on Sam Houston's races ontrack is down 14 percent this meet to $118,527 a night, while offsite handle on the track's races has been down 18 percent to $1,478,136.