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Participation Purses for CA Owners to Increase Significantly 1/1/2020

Arcadia, Calif. – To offset the workers’ compensation insurance per-start increase and in an effort to provide additional relief to California owners, who have been hit with general increases in costs for racing during the past year, the Guaranteed Participation Purses will be increased from $351 to $500 per start in Southern California and from $300 to $450 at Golden Gate Fields.

Guaranteed participation purses are paid to owners of horses competing in all races in which their horses do not finish first through fifth. They are designed to help owners cover core costs involved in getting their horses to the races – such as the new mandatory vet exam fee required by the CHRB.  Beginning Jan. 1. 2020, horses finishing sixth and beyond (and to fifth place finishers when their share of purse money is less than the corresponding Guaranteed Participation Purse) shall be paid $500 to start in Southern California and $450 to start at Golden Gate Fields.

As a result of major increases in workers’ compensation insurance costs in California, it was necessary to increase the per-start fee from $106 to $120 – which covers the owners’ portion of funding for the program. The per-start fee will continue to be automatically deducted from the owner’s paymaster account every time they start a horse. This change will go into effect at Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields beginning January 1.

“The TOC appreciates the intense economic pressure that Thoroughbred owners in California have been under in the past year,” said TOC chairman Nick Alexander. “We have experienced flat purses and rising costs of business, including the new safety reforms that the owners have been required to fund on their own and a substantial increase in CHRB expenses that are funded 50% from the statewide purse accounts and which will exceed $14.5 million this year. TOC’s decision to increase participation purses is meant to assist owners with these expenses and encourage them to continue to run in California.”

Alexander concluded, “Looking to the future we are hopeful that working with the CHRB and the racetracks we can come up with a more equitable sharing of expenses so that we have enough owners and racehorses in California to allow our sport to grow and thrive in the future.”

TOC is the official organization serving new, veteran and future Thoroughbred owners in the state. It represents, advances, and protects owners’ interests and rights in legislative, administrative and business matters.