Pact bolsters California racing purses by $15M, horse owners eye sports betting for more

Reported by (how appropriate) by Steve Bittenbender

California horse racing received a major boost last week after several key stakeholders reached an agreement on a purse enhancement program.

The accord between the Thoroughbred Owners of California, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, The Stronach Group’s 1/ST Racing, and TVG means $15 million more for purses over the next two years.

The move had been expected to the point Santa Anita Park previously upped its purses by 10 percent. At $533,000, the average daily purse now allows the Stronach-owned southern California track to compete with tracks across the country. That includes those that have their purses supplemented through casino gaming, historical horse racing, or other subsidies.

Santa Anita’s meet began on Dec. 26 and will run through June 20.

“California racing has always been very important to TVG, and we are committed to continuing our support of the racing industry here, especially given the challenging circumstances the industry faced in 2020” said Kip Levin, CEO of FanDuel Group-owned TVG, in a statement released by the Thoroughbred Owners. “We feel the right strategy is to partner with the stakeholders to further strengthen what has always been a premier racing circuit in the United States.”

Del Mar projects the average purse for its summer meet will be more than $600,000 this year. In the statement, Del Mar President Josh Rubenstein said the boost, along with hosting the Breeders’ Cup in the fall, set the San Diego County track up for a “fantastic” year.

The purse increases come as California has struggled to attract and retain horses and jockeys. Read full article »

Featured Image: Photographer Not Cited.

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