Fairmount Park Purses to Jump 20% in 2012

The Illinois racetrack and the local horsemen's group released a purse schedule.

Fairmount Park and the Illinois Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association have agreed upon an increased purse structure for 2012 thanks to the racetrack’s share of casino impact funding it received last year.

According to a purse guide from the track, purses will increase roughly 20%. The bottom purse of $4,000 for $3,200 claimers in 2011 will increase to $5,000 in 2012. Maiden special weight races, worth $6,000 last year, will go for $8,000.

In addition a bonus will be added to Thoroughbred purses when at least eight horses, all of them separate betting interests, arrive in the paddock. The bonus will range from $800 to $2,000 depending on the base purse.

For instance, an overnight handicap with a top purse of $12,000 would be worth $14,000 if the bonus applies.

The Illinois HBPA said purses this year will be the highest in the history of the Fairmount Park.

Fairmount Park, located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Mo., was approved for 67 days of racing this year. The meet begins April 3 and ends Sept. 21.

Racing will be held two days a week—Tuesdays and Fridays—in April and September, and three days a week with Saturdays added from May to August. Post time Tuesdays is 1 p.m. CST and 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.