One of the current dilemmas facing racing in Virginia is average daily purses. At the just-completed meet, Colonial Downs offered the lowest overnight purses in the Mid-Atlantic region with the exception of Mountaineer. CLN’s average daily purse is artificially inflated by the large purses on the Virginia Derby and Colonial Turf Cup and the short meet. The average daily overnight purse is a better indicator.
The low overnight purse average ($12,803) is clearly a handicap when you also factor in the distance and cost to ship there. Add, in wear-and-tear on your horse, and more and more horsemen were seeking other opportunities in closer jurisdictions.
The Virginia-breds seemed to be the exception to this rule where the large owner’s bonus still motivates owners to race their Virginia-breds at Colonial.
Monmouth Park $804,784 average daily distribution, $55,042 average overnight purse (35 days)
Philadelphia Park $279,472, $27,685 (123)
Delaware Park $236,165, $22,649 (59)
Penn National $185,068, $20,068 (125)
Colonial Downs $172,250, $12,803 (35)
Charles Town $162,151, $16,533 (135)
Laurel Park $153,457, $17,050 (4)
Mountaineer $131,725, $$11,722 (110)
Other tracks not within the Mid-Atlantic region with higher average daily distribution include Saratoga $628,373, Woodbine $482,131, Belmont Park $432,247, Prairie Meadows $227,536, Arlington Park $223,655, Calder $212,572, Hoosier Park $210,095, Indiana Downs $200,018, and Evangeline $177,845.
(Source: Aug 14 Thoroughbred Times)