Del Mar Racetrack will be reducing the overnight purses by 10% across the board, marking the second time in two years that the track has had to do so. It’s not a very promising sign for one of the marquee tracks in California, a state that can run races through the entirety of the year due to great weather.
“The reasoning is, we can only pay out what we generate from handle,” noted Tom Robbins, the VP of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. “We’ve paid out, in the last two years, a little more than we’ve generated. This is not only set by us, but also the owners.”
This isn’t a huge red flag for Robbins or the Del mar Racetrack but it is a slight cause for concern. One important element is that Del Mar lacks casino income, which is something the vice-president pointed out. “We’re still paying more. You can’t compare us with New York or other states that have the benefits of slots or casinos. We’re doing it the old-fashioned way.”
That old fashioned way may or may not be working depending on who you ask. Maiden special weight races will drop from $70,000 to $63,000, its lowest mark in five years. “We’re trying to recover a little bit,” Robbins continued. “If we didn’t have a fall meeting, we wouldn’t be in this position.”
The Del Mar Racetrack will commence their summer meet on July 15th and hopefully the action will quite literally pick up. The rain in California has been much needed, but it also ruined the course for a handful of weekends. As long as they can bank on some clearer skies, then they should be just fine. But this is a legitimate road bump for progress.