Second Purse Hike Approved at Santa Anita

For the second time at the current meeting, Santa Anita will increase its overnight purses by 5%, according to track president Ron Charles.

The purse adjustment will be reflected in the March 29 program but is effective immediately and will be retroactive to opening day, Dec. 26.

This increase follows a previous purse hike of 5% announced on Feb. 10.

"We're obviously very happy to be able announce a second increase in our purses at this meet," said Charles. "Despite a couple of weeks of inclement weather which really impacted our turf program, horsemen have continued to support the entry box, which has enabled us to maintain our field size and this has continued to fuel increased handle."

Through 63 days of racing, Santa Anita is averaging 8.7 horses per race, a substantial increase from last year.

"With this additional (purse) increase, our overnight purses are now well in excess of $300,000 per day," said Michael Harlow, Santa Anita's director of racing .

The $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) will be run on April 8. Charles is optimistic business will remain brisk. "Spring is here, we've got warmer weather and a lot of great racing to come. Along with the horsemen, our marketing efforts and the exposure we've been getting in the media, we fully expect to finish up very strong."

Santa Anita's 86-day meeting will conclude on April 23.