Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Wednesday announced a 5% purse increase retroactive to the start of the 2005 season on July 20.The raise, a reflection of strong pari-mutuel handle numbers through the first five weeks of the seven-week race meet at Del Mar, will affect all overnight races and overnight stakes, but not the track's schedule of 29 major stakes races. Starting with racing Wednesday, the increase will be directly reflected in all purses. For all affected prior races, a retroactive 5% payment will be made to owners as well as to trainers and jockeys for their fees. Through Sunday's Pacific Classic Day racing card Aug. 21 -- day 29 of the 43-day season -- the daily average handle at the meet was $13,947,266, which represented a 4.9% overall increase over last year's record daily handle of $13,497,260. This year's numbers have been bolstered by an on-track handle increase of 4.7%. Field size remained at the 2004 level of 8.3 horses per race. "We are delighted to be able to reward our horsemen for their support of racing at Del Mar," said Joe Harper, DMTC president and general manager. "The numbers speak for themselves and should remain strong through the balance of the meet due to the fact that closing day falls on the Wednesday immediately following Labor Day." Last year Del Mar recorded a record total handle of $580,382,206.
The track's 2005 season continues to Sept. 7.