As part of an attempt to increase field size, the TOC approved the program at meeting in Del Mar in early August. The program will take effect beginning with the Bay Meadows fall meet and run through the Golden Gate Fields winter meet, officials said.
During those meets, purses will be divided with the following formula—55% to first; 20% to second; 13% to third; 7% to fourth; 2% to fifth; 1% to sixth-, seventh- and eighth- places.
Purses in California currently are only paid down to fifth place.
The pilot program will only apply to racing in Northern California and will be reviewed in the spring, officials said. The purpose of the program is to stimulate field growth. Owners will be consulted in spring about whether or not to continue the program.
In other business, the TOC said it will back a pilot program to allow sponsors’ endorsements on owners’ silks, jockeys’ clothing, and saddle cloths.
The California Horse Racing Board tentatively said it is willing to allow state racing regulations to be amended so that the program, which would last one year, can begin.