The Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) will see its purse drop from $1 million in 2016 to $750,000 in 2017, Joe Morris, senior vice president of West Coast operations for The Stronach Group, said Oct. 31.
Morris cited an overall increase in 2017 stakes and purses as a reason for the Big ‘Cap purse decrease, along with the presence of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup (gr. I) in January and the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) in March on the handicap division calendar, and how those races will impact the Santa Anita Park feature in the future.
“We needed to create some room with purses, because the way the schedule was this year and is next year, we’re picking five stakes,” Morris said.
Morris also said the change could only last a year. The Big ‘Cap had a $1 million purse from 1986-2009, then dipped to $750,000 from 2010-14, and went back to $1 million for 2015-16.
“It’s for one year and we’ll see what happens,” Morris said. “Nothing is set in stone.”