Del Mar Increases Purses Retroactively

Stables that raced at Del Mar this past summer are getting an early holiday gift in the form of a retroactive 7.2% purse increase.

Due to robust business during the 2004 meet, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has announced a retroactive purse increase of $1 million. This marks the second year for a retroactive purse increase at the southern California oval, which distributed a retroactive increase of $500,595 in 2003.

Del Mar chief financial officer Mike Ernst said the track is still collecting some simulcast revenue, so the amount of the purse increase could continue to rise. As a result of an agreement between Del Mar and the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the amount of the distribution will be capped at $1 million, with anything above that to be credited to next year's meet.

Ernst said Del Mar did not increase purses prior to this year's meet because of uncertainty over whether the track could continue the success it had in 2003 and uncertainty over the wagering market in Southern California.

"Last year was such a banner year for us, we were trying to be a little bit cautious with our projections," Ernst said. "Anyway, this makes a nice Christmas present."

Ernst said the purse increases will be incorporated into owner, trainer, jockey, and horse statistics maintained by Equibase.