Purses, Claiming Prices For Select Races To Increase July 1

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Board of Directors has approved an increase in claiming prices and changes in race conditions in some categories along with a blended purse increase for overnight races that will begin July 1 and extend at least through the end of 2022.

The changes were developed in conjunction with the Maryland Jockey Club. The purse hike will average 10% to 11%, with a bottom purse of $17,000 for a $5,000 condition claimer and the highest purse at $70,000 for an open allowance race.

The increase in claiming prices stemmed from discussions on providing a higher return on investment for Thoroughbred owners who race in Maryland by elevating the value of racehorses, and combating the inflation of expenses and auction prices in the current environment. The purse increase, in many categories, reflects the changes in claiming prices.

The MTHA board also considered the possibility there could be a limit on purses based on claiming prices should the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority opt to adopt a rule in the future. The purse-to-claiming-price ratio rule was not included in the HISA Racetrack Safety Program that takes effect July 1 because some stakeholders around the country expressed concerns.

Under the revised structure, maiden claiming prices will be $45,000-$36,000 (which includes a Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired waiver), $30,000-$24,000, $20,000-$16,000, and $12,500-$10,000. Purses for each of those categories, as well as maiden special weights, will be higher. There will no longer be a maiden claiming $25,000-$20,000 with a Maryland-sired waiver.

There is also a change in a claiming eligibility rule: A horse is ineligible if it has started for less than $5,000—unless it has finished first, second or third for $5,000 or more since starting for less than $5,000.

The complete list of revised purses, conditions and claiming prices appears below.

After cancellation of live racing for two weeks at Laurel in January, the MTHA board authorized a 20% hike in purses from Jan. 16 through the end of February. A 10% increase (based upon the purse structure prior to the lost days) was in place through March and for the short spring meet that ended May 8.

“The temporary purse increases benefited horsemen at a critical time, but committing to a purse hike through at least the end of 2022 will provide consistency for our racing program and help horsemen plan for the remainder of the year,” MTHA President Tim Keefe said. “In addition, this seemed to be a good time to increase various claiming prices and gauge the impact it could have on our owners and our racing product.”

MTHA projections show that even with the purse increase the Thoroughbred Purse Account will maintain a strong cushion at the end of this year and into 2023.

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