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Friday, July 18, 2008

Purses a'Plenty

- Right on to NYRA's plan to boost purses at Saratoga for longer and fuller races. Steve Crist writes in DRF Plus that a high-grade money-won allowance race with a field of 12 could be worth $114,000 instead of $74,000. Saratoga already was the top purse-per-day track in the country, and this could send their numbers through the roof; and this all, of course, without slots. This is the kind of thing I had in mind when I said during the franchise process that NYRA's experience conducting top-notch race meetings had to count for a lot. Do you think Capital Play or Empire would have thought of this?

Racing secretary P.J. Campo hopes to have an easier time filling the longer distance races. In the meantime, in order to fill the races during the always difficult final weeks downstate, he's had to resort to a generous dose of maiden claiming sprints on both dirt and turf, and with claiming tags as low as 25K. But he seems to have gotten them all out of the way now, and the closing weekend cards look OK on first glance.

I think that Campo gets high marks for this meeting. As I've said before, we're probably never going to see the kind of consistent quality that we used to have here, given the way the better horses are handled more carefully and raced less, and the NY-breds that need to be accommodated. That will be the case at Saratoga as well once it gets into the middle of the week-or-so-too-long meeting. But, using variously conditioned claiming races (including, of late, dual condition beaten claiming races), starter allowances, and, yes, those ubiquitous hard-to-handicap but fun-to-watch turf sprints, he was able to present cards that I found consistently interesting and competitive. Campo has been helped too by a lively claiming trainer colony, infused by relative newcomers like David Jacobsen, Enrique Arroyo, and Bruce Brown, and featuring a purse structure which has encouraged them and others to race their horses at levels at which they can win. Here's hoping that all of the above, plus these new purse incentives, makes for some great betting days upstate.

7 Comments:

jk said...

The big fields are good but I can live without statebred maiden claimers. Send them all to Finger Lakes.

Anonymous said...

No matter how you slice it, NY racing is going to the dogs. And that includes the beloved Spa which is only a pale shadow of what it once was.

Racing is in decline everywhere but nowhere has it fallen further, faster than NY.

Anonymous said...

Good news for Spa racing fans despite negative comments elsewhere. Here's more good news for NY'ers(from a little piece in today's NY Post): "Sources close to Giuliani said the state fund-raising venture is simply "him keeping his options open" for his future. But several sources say the former mayor is eyeing a gubernatorial run in 2010." Great news, eh Alan and El Angelo? Unlike Chris Mathews on 'Bam, I don't get a shiver of excitement running up my leg on this news but almost. Let's see, Gov NY 2010, Republican nominee for Pres in 2012 after McCain steps down as a one termer and heads out to pasture. Things are looking up. /S/Green Mtn Punter

Anonymous said...

Alan,

Have a look at the Empire Racing Associates response to the Pataki request for proposals to see where the NYRA got the idea for increased purses on longer races. Do you need me to send you the page numbers where this is located? I know you believe in the NYRA, but not many of the remainder of the racing world does.

alan said...

>>Have a look at the Empire Racing Associates response to the Pataki request for proposals to see where the NYRA got the idea for increased purses on longer races. Do you need me to send you the page numbers where this is located?

I just skimmed through it and didn't see it. So if you would please be so kind to send me the page number, I'll check it out and set the record straight should I be wrong. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

part 111 section 3.1, page 9, "Distance Series" proposed by Empire for the benefit of patrons, granted without the NYRA proposed purse inducements.

alan said...

>>part 111 section 3.1, page 9, "Distance Series" proposed by Empire for the benefit of patrons, granted without the NYRA proposed purse inducements.

Well, I was totally prepared to retract what I wrote....but c'mon man, I read that and I respectfully think your argument is a bit weak. Empire merely discussed the idea of running more races at a mile and a half or more. I don't think that relates at all to this concept of higher purses for two turn races as opposed to sprints.