Turfway Park is following through with its plan to increase purses across the board when its winter/spring meet begins Jan. 1, 2013.
The new condition book at the Kentucky racetrack reflects increases of 13% to about 35% depending on the conditions.
Maiden special weight purses will be $24,000 including $10,500 from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund, up about 14% from the current $21,000 with the same $10,500 KTDF supplement. The purse for an open $5,000 claimer will be $11,000, up 29% from $8,500.
The bottom purse of $7,000 for $5,000 maiden claimers is up 27% from $5,500. Entry-level allowance races will go for $26,000, up 13% from $23,000. The KTDF share will be $11,500.
Through 15 days of racing during the current holiday meet, Turfway—racing four days a week—has averaged 9.13 horses per race and average daily purses of $107,298, according to The Jockey Club Information Systems. There will be seven consecutive days of racing from Dec. 26-Jan. 1, with a three-day-a-week schedule beginning Jan. 4.
In a recent interview Turfway general manager Chip Bach said the track planned to increase purses in January, with a goal to have condition-book purses of about $160,000 a day. Bach noted the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, in awarding Turfway's traditional September dates to Churchill Downs, urged the track to find a way to increase purses to keep horses in Kentucky in the winter.
Bach also said he had a preference to increase purses across the board to bump up money for the lower classes as well. Most $5,000 claiming condition races will carry a purse of no less $10,000 beginning Jan. 1.
Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in West Virginia ended its 2012 meet Dec. 21 and won't reopen for live racing until March 1, 2013. It's expected the bigger pots may lure some of those horses to Turfway during the two months of down time.
Turfway is scheduled to only race four days—the first two weekends—in February, with four more optional days. Bach said the other two weekends could be added to the calendar "if our entries are very strong."
The first stakes of 2013 is the $50,000 Turfway Prevue for 3-year-olds Jan. 5.