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Submitted by Noel Michaels on Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Churchill Downs trims stakes purses, races

Churchill Downs officials in Louisville, Ky., have announced they are adjusting for slumping handle at its current 25-day fall meet by reducing the purses on two graded races and cutting overnight races from its original schedule.

The purses for the Grade 2 Golden Rod and Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, both to be run closing day, Nov. 30, have been lowered by $25,000 apiece, from $175,000 to $150,000. In addition, the programs for Nov. 24 and 27 are being cut back by one race, from 10 races to nine. Churchill already cut one race from the Nov. 16 and 22 programs prior to the announcement.

In a media release late Wednesday, officials attributed the reduction to Churchill engaging “ongoing competitive challenges that include gaming-enhanced purses at other racetracks and continued growth of casino competition in its home region.”

Tracks owned by Churchill Downs Inc. do not release business figures except for special days.

This latest purse reduction continues a downward trend in recent years. Purses at this meet already were down substantially from customary levels. As an example, maiden special weight races that for years had been worth at least $50,000 are now worth $43,000, and that includes bonuses paid only to horses eligible to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.

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