Santa Anita has announced an across-the-board decrease in purse levels beginning Jan. 31 as a result of declines in off-track and out-of-state handle during the one month-old meeting.Purse levels of overnight races will be reduced approximately 6.5% and purses for 10 stakes events will also be trimmed from $25,000 to as much as $50,000.This is the third consecutive Southern California meet – following those of the Oak Tree Racing Association at Santa Anita and the Hollywood Park autumn program – forced to cut purses due to smaller-than-expected wagering.
Jack Liebau, who resigned Monday as president of California operations for Magna Entertainment Corporation, warned last week that the purse cuts were imminent.
While on-track attendance is up 1% and on-track handle down only 2% compared to last year, off-track handle and out-of-state handle were down 7% and 17%, respectively, according to Chris McCarron, Santa Anita's general manager.
The following stakes have been reduced $50,000 each: San Juan Capistrano Handicap (gr. IIT), from $300,000 to $250,000; La Puente Stakes, from $150,000 to $100,000; Frank E. Kilroe Mile (gr. IIT), from $400,000 to $350,000; Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. IIT), from $250,000 to $200,000; San Carlos Handicap (gr. IIT), from $200,000 to $150,000; Providencia Stakes, from $150,000 to $100,000; San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT), from $250,000 to $200,000, and San Bernardino Handicap (gr. III), from $150,000 to $100,000.
The following stakes have been reduced $25,000 each: Las Flores Handicap (gr. III), from $125,000 to $100,000, and San Simeon Handicap (gr. IIIT), from $125,000 to $100,000.