Posted: Feb. 11, 2020
A 2019 legislative change that slightly increased the amount of casino video lottery terminal revenue that goes to purses has led to an increase in overnight purses at Delaware Park for 2020.
According to statistics from the Delaware Lottery, which oversees gaming in the state, the purse share from VLTs at Delaware Park went from 9% to 10% effective in July. For calendar year 2019, the purse account received $13.56 million from VLTs at the track. Another $1.41 million was earned via the 4.5% purses get from table games revenue.
The first condition book, which spans May 27-July 6, shows the increases are targeted at mid- to upper-level overnight races. For instance, the purse for a maiden special weight event on the dirt will be $40,000, up 17.6% from $34,000 last year. (The purse for the same class on turf will be $39,000.)
The current maiden special weight purses for Parx Racing and Laurel Park are $45,000 and $40,000, respectively. Monmouth Park has not released its first condition book, but last year a maiden special weight event went for $45,000. Colonial Downs, when it reopened last summer, had $50,000 pots for maiden special weight races.
The purse for a first-level allowance race at Delaware Park is set at $42,000 for dirt (up 16.6% from $36,000) and $41,000 for turf. The purse for a $25,000 maiden claimer on the dirt is up to $25,000 ($23,000 for grass races). An open $8,000 claiming race now carries a purse of $20,000. The bottom purse remains at $10,000 for $4,000 claimers and $5,000 maiden claimers.
The purse account at Delaware Park also gets a cut from sports betting, both on track and via sports lottery retailers in the state that are limited to offering parlay cards.
At Delaware Park, which has full sports betting, the 2019 contribution to purses was $745,000. For the retailers, the state reported a total 2019 purse contribution of $691,000, which includes money that goes to two harness tracks, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and Harrington Raceway & Casino; the split is based on retailer location, and Delaware Park receives the largest portion of the purse revenue.
Delaware Park will again offer the 50% overnight purse bonus on earnings for Delaware Certified horses in overnight events. The bonuses, paid to the top five finishers in a race, is split 25% for the owner and 25% for the certifier.
(Delaware Park photo by Tom LaMarra)