Thursday, March 1, 2012 12:00 AM
REVISED: FLORENCE, Ky., March 1, 2012 – Turfway Park will cut its overnight purses 25 percent effective March 3, announced Chief Financial Officer Cliff Reed.
The track's minimum purse will drop from $6,000 to $4,500. The minimum maiden special weight purse will drop from $22,000 to $19,600. The minimum entry level allowance will drop from $24,000 to $21,400; the maiden special and allowance amounts reflect a 25 percent cut in the association's contribution to the purse, while supplements from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund are unchanged.
Explained Turfway Park president and CEO Robert N. Elliston, "We have actually paid out almost 12 percent more in purses so far this year compared to 2011; however, most of the overpayment resulted from not having to cancel any race cards this winter, a contingency we take into account but cannot predict, as the current mild winter proves. Compounding the problem is that wagering both on track and at other outlets is down 6 percent from where we expected it to be.
"Quite frankly, this unfortunate cut in purses for the remainder of this meet won't resolve our overpayment entirely, and further reductions are likely as we move into September and December," Elliston continued.
The stakes remaining on the current meet's schedule are unaffected by this latest round of cuts; however, the track had already eliminated four $50,000 stakes from the current meet and reduced the purses on two others. Lost for the year are the Wintergreen, the Tejano Run, the Queen, and the Fairway Fun, all previously scheduled to run in March. Purses for the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes and the Rushaway Stakes were reduced at that time from $100,000 to $75,000.
In addition to the Battaglia and the Rushway, Turfway retained its centerpiece spring race, the $500,000 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (G3), and the filly counterpart, the $100,000 Bourbonette Oaks (G3). The Battaglia will run March 3. The remaining three will run March 24.