New York modifies rule on purse-to-claiming price ratio

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Jan. 28, 2019

The New York State Gaming Commission Jan. 28 approved a modification that allows New York Racing Association tracks flexibility in a purse-to-claiming-price ratio rule enacted after a series of catastrophic breakdowns at Aqueduct Racetrack more than five years ago.

In response to a task force report, state regulators adopted a recommendation that the purse for a claiming race be no more than twice the claiming price. New safety policies and protocol led to a reduction of breakdowns per 1,000 starts, and NYRA requested having the option to elevate purses for some categories if it deems necessary.

NYSGC staff recommended approval of the rule on the basis that it balances safety and competitive concerns. Equine veterinary staff were instructed to keep track of the new rule on a race-by-race basis and report to the NYSGC at its May meeting on any developments.

In other business, the commission put out for public comment regulations on sports betting at four upstate New York commercial casinos. As of now, the only racetrack that qualifies is the  Downs harness track in the Southern Tier because it won a bid to offer full casino-style gambling in 2013 based on a regional formula for awarding licenses.

(Saratoga Race Course photo by Coglianese/NYRA)