06/24/2011 1:28PM

Saratoga purses getting incentive dollars

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The New York Racing Association on Friday announced two purse incentives designed to increase field size for the upcoming Saratoga meet.

First, NYRA will pay $1,000 to the horses in every race who finish sixth through last. Currently, NYRA distributes 2 percent of the purse to runners sixth through last. At Saratoga, the purse breakdown will be 60 percent to first, 20 percent to second, 10 percent to third, 6 percent to fourth and 4 percent to fifth, with fourth and fifth 1 percent higher than currently offered. If the value for finishing fifth in any given race at Saratoga is less than $1,000, NYRA will supplement the difference.

The second purse incentive is the renewal of a policy that was in effect the last two meets, which increases the purse of any scheduled turf race rained off the grass by 20 percent provided at least eight betting interests left the paddock.

“We are very pleased to be able to offer our horsemen these two purse incentives,} said P.J. Campo, NYRA vice-president and director of racing. “Hopefully, these bonuses, will help create bigger fields, which will lead to better wagering opportunities for our customers and higher handle on our races.”

Trainer Rick Violette, the head of the New York Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association, praised the incentive to give each starter $1,000.

“Saratoga’s an expensive place and hopefully this will address that,” Violette said. “It spreads a little bit more money around to horses that don’t win and certainly can help pay van costs for people shipping in for an overnight stay there.”

Last summer, Monmouth Park enacted a similar incentive, guaranteeing $1,500 to every finisher in a race.

The 40-day Saratoga meet begins July 22 and runs through Sept. 5.