05/08/2002 11:00PM

Woodbine purses up $3.1 million

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Purse increases that will total $3.1 million over the balance of the Woodbine racing season will take effect Sunday, the Woodbine Entertainment Group announced Thursday.

"Our wagering, on both our live and our simulcast product, is continuing to show growth," said Hugh Mitchell, senior vice president of racing for Woodbine. "That, coupled with strong revenues from the slot machine program, puts us in a position to increase purses."

The increases will apply to all maiden allowance, allowance, and claiming races of $32,000 and upward plus four stakes races and all overnight sprint handicaps.

Purses for maiden allowance and allowance races will increase by 7.5 percent and now will range from $60,600 for a maiden allowance sprint to $89,000 for a classified allowance going long. The increase for the maiden allowance and allowance levels will be the second of the season, as those races started out with a 12 percent hike over last year.

The higher-level claiming races will get 5 percent increases and now will range from $34,100 for a maiden $32,000 sprint to $69,300 for $100,000 claimers going long.

The Nassau, Summer, Canadian, and Sky Classic will see their purses rise by $50,000, to $250,000. All are Grade 2 turf races, with the June 2 Nassau for fillies and mares, the Sept. 8 Summer for 2-year-olds, the Sept. 8 Canadian for fillies and mares, and the Oct. 27 Sky Classic for 3-year-olds and upward.

Purses for overnight sprint handicaps will also increase, from $96,800 to $100,000, while two-turn overnight handicaps will be scaled back to $100,000 from $106,500.