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by Steve Andersen of drf.com

Del Mar raises purses for fall meeting- HORSE RACING, DEL MAR, Calif. – Overnight purses will rise approximately 5 percent at the Del Mar autumn meeting, according to the track’s racing department, while the stakes program remains largely unchanged. The meeting runs from Nov. 9-Dec. 2.

Overnight purses at the meet range from $18,000 for $8,000 claimers to $75,000 for overnight stakes. In all, 20 of the 26 purse categories have been increased compared to last year’s autumn meeting. The increases range from $1,000 to $4,000.

An emphasis has been placed on increasing purses for lower-level claimers. Races for $8,000 claimers have been increased $2,000, while purses for $16,000 claimers will be worth an additional $3,000, to $24,000. Starter allowance races for non-winners of two who have raced for claiming prices of $50,000 or less were increased $4,000 to $32,000.

Purses for allowance races, maiden special weight races, and maiden-claiming races will increase $1,000 each. Purses for maiden special weight races will be $53,000. The same race at the summer meeting had a purse of $60,000.

A 6.8 percent gain in all-sources handle at the Del Mar summer meeting allowed the track to reduce a significant deficit in its purse account, track chief executive Mike Ernst said during the summer. The deficit reduction prompted the increase in purses for the fall meet.

There are 14 stakes during the season, including nine graded stakes, two of which are Grade 1 races.

The richest races of the fall meeting are the Grade 1 turf races worth $300,000 on closing weekend – the Hollywood Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on Dec. 1 and the Matriarch Stakes for fillies and mares at a mile on turf Dec. 2, closing day.

There are six graded stakes on the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, from Nov. 22-25, including two Grade 2, $200,000 races on turf – the Hollywood Turf Cup at 1 1/2 miles on Nov. 23 and the Seabiscuit Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 24.

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