08/22/2002 12:00AM

Suffolk to raise purses 10 percent

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EAST BOSTON, Mass. - Continued revenue increases, the result of sweeping legislative changes in Massachusetts at the beginning of 2002, will allow Suffolk Downs to make a 10 percent daily average purse increase for its fall meeting, according to track officials.

The lowest-priced claiming horses will run for $6,200 - up from $4,600 in June of 2001. Maiden special weight and the highest allowance levels will see the biggest increases - $3,000 and $2,500 respectively - to $16,000 and $22,000.

The increase is the third since the legislation went into effect and is a rise of nearly 25 percent from this time last year. More than $3.3 million has been generated for purses from premium payments made by the state's greyhound and harness tracks on Thoroughbred simulcasts, as well as money from uncashed tickets and a rebate on parimutuel taxes.

The meet is projected to run 55 days, beginning Sept. 28, but still awaits final approval from state racing commission.