Published Thursday, March 3rd, 2022   ( 8 months ago )

Del Mar Record Purses for 2022 Meet will be Highest in History of California Racing

All Conditions See Increases - Stakes, ‘Ship & Win,’ Maiden Bonuses Are Enhanced

Del Mar Gate Open | Benoit Photo

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is projecting its most lucrative racing season ever in 2022 with purse levels for its 31-day meet above $25-million resulting in an unprecedented average purse payout of more than $800,000 per day. Additionally, 21 of its major stakes will be increased sharply and its overnight purses raised by a blended rate of 15%.

Further still, the track’s highly-successful “Ship & Win” program will provide its greatest rewards yet joining an upwards flow with other across-the-board program strengthening for its horsemen and women during the eight weeks of the seaside track’s 83rd summer stand.

Sixteen major Del Mar stakes will see jumps ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 in their values, while all five of its overnight stakes will rise from $80,000 to $100,000. Notably, two of its Grade I presentations – the Bing Crosby Stakes at six furlongs and the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes for fillies and mares – both will climb in value from $300,000 to $400,000.

The track’s popular “Ship & Win” program – which annually draws hundreds of out-of-state runners to the shore oval – will give owners and trainers their richest offerings in its 12-year history with a $5,000 starter bonus and a 50% purse supplement to dirt runners, as well as a $4,000 bonus and a 40% supplement to grass starters.

Further still, Del Mar’s maiden bonus plan (formerly the juvenile bonus) will be expanded to provide horses of any age in maiden special weight, maiden special weight Cal-Bred and maiden claiming $62,500 and above on dirt a 25% purse bonus for qualifying stables. Of note in this regard, the track has hiked its maiden special weight races this season from $70,000 to $80,000.

“We’ve been on a roll of late and based on the feedback we’re receiving from local and out-of-state stables, I’m very optimistic our positive trend will continue,” said Del Mar’s executive vice president for racing Tom Robbins. “Last year we averaged a record $18.4 million a day in handle and our field size was 8.5 per race. Those are powerful numbers, not only in the west, but all across the country. We’re going to try to increase them this year and I believe we’ve got a good chance to do so.”

There’s a potential best-case-scenario script where a horse shipping in to run in a maiden special weight dirt race could compete for a purse of not $80,000, but $140,000 when the “S &W” monies (50%, or $40,000) and the maiden bonus plan (25%, or $20,000) are included. On top of that, the horse’s connections would be awarded a $5,000 starter fee besides.

The increase in overnight purses means there will be noteworthy augmentations for all levels. For example, at the lowest level, a maiden-claiming race for $20,000 stock will have its purse climb from $25,000 to $30,000. The top-level allowance horses see their rewards elevated from $76,000 to $86,000. And a $32,000 claiming race now will go for $51,000 instead of $45,000.

Track officials plan to release their full stakes schedule next week and it will show a marked rise in their gross purses from $7,450,000 to $8,275,000. Del Mar’s premier offering, the $1,000,000, Grade I TVG Pacific Classic, will be conducted at a mile and one quarter on Saturday, September 3.

"Del Mar is America’s premier race meet,” said Thoroughbred Owners of California chairman Gary Fenton. “Owners look forward to competing there and soaking in the incredible experience offered by our friends at DMTC and the county of San Diego. We are grateful for the hard work that goes into planning our magical summers at Del Mar."

The place “where the turf meets the surf” will open its season with a three-day weekend (Friday, July 22, 23 and 24), then have five four-day weeks (Thursday through Sunday), a five-day week (including Labor Day Monday, September 5), then finish with a Friday-through-Sunday weekend (September 9, 10, 11).