The Thoroughbred Owners of California (“TOC”), Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, The Stronach Group’s 1/ST Racing and FanDuel Group’s TVG announced today new purse enhancement program that will inject up to $15 million into California Thoroughbred purses in 2021 and 2022.
The parties to the agreement, all major stakeholders in California Thoroughbred racing, believed that working together on additional sponsorship and purse enhancements would help support the state’s racing industry in light of the loss of purse revenue due to the cessation of live racing in California in 2020 and the restrictions on on-site attendance due to public health requirements. The parties also share a commitment to support and promote the significant equine health and safety advancements made by California racing interests over the last two years.
“California racing has always been very important to TVG, and we are committed to continuing our support of the racing industry here, especially given the challenging circumstances the industry faced in 2020” said TVG CEO Kip Levin. “We feel the right strategy is to partner with the stakeholders to further strengthen what has always been a premier racing circuit in the United States.”
In anticipation of the program, Santa Anita Park recently announced a 10% across the board purse increase for its 2020-2021 Winter/Spring Meet. With a daily purse average of $533,000, Santa Anita Park’s purses are now competitive with the top circuits in the U.S. despite not receiving any casino gaming revenues or government subsidies.
“This is a great development for California horse racing,” said Craig Fravel, The Stronach Group’s CEO of Racing. “Along with our horsemen and regulators, we instituted historic safety reforms starting in 2019. We believe these reforms and the enhanced purses previously announced have created a great racing environment that has already attracted top stakes horses, trainers and riders from all over the country to our current Santa Anita Winter/Spring meet.”
With the support of these purse enhancements, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is projected to increase average daily purse levels at its summer meeting to more than $600,000 in 2021, Del Mar officials indicated. Josh Rubinstein, Del Mar’s president, stated, “Coming off our extraordinarily successful summer and fall meets in 2020, these increased purses, coupled with the growing excitement for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, sets us up for a fantastic 2021.”
“This unprecedented level of partnership among California’s horsemen and women, FanDuel/TVG, The Stronach Group and Del Mar is just the beginning,” said TOC President Greg Avioli. “With sports wagering on the horizon and its potential to both add millions more to purse accounts and to create new horse players, combined with the successful safety and welfare measures instituted over the last two years by our race tracks, we are well on the way to returning California to its historic place as the country’s premier racing circuit.”