The New York Racing Association announced July 17 that purses for open company route races on the dirt and turf at Saratoga Race Course will be increased, based on the number of horses in a race. The revamped purse structure begins July 23, opening day at Saratoga.
For dirt races at nine furlongs (1 1/8 miles) and longer, NYRA will provide incremental increases for every betting interest over six that start. For turf races longer than nine furlongs, the increases will take effect for every betting interest over eight that start.
The purse hikes per betting interest for both dirt and turf races are as follows:
--Maiden special weight: $5,000
--Non-winners of one, two, and three: $8,000
--Money allowances and overnight stakes: $10,000
At Saratoga this summer, for example, an open allowance race for non-winners of two at nine furlongs on the dirt with 10 betting interests would increase by $32,000, from the current purse of $70,000 to $102,000. An open maiden special weight race at 1 3/8 miles on the turf with 11 betting interests will jump $15,000, from the current purse of $63,000 to $78,000.
“These purse increases provide a huge incentive for owners and trainers at NYRA tracks and across the country to run their horses at Saratoga and fill these distance races,” said Paul “PJ” Campo, NYRA vice president and director of racing. “Our fans benefit since higher purses attract better horses and create exciting wagering opportunities. And, of course, large fields generate higher handle, and that’s good for NYRA and all of our racing stakeholders.”
Average daily purses for the 2007 Saratoga meet were $773,738, the highest of any Thoroughbred race track in the country, and reflected a 16.7% increase from the 2006 meet.