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Sunday, August 25, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  International sports

Santa Anita to run 3 days a week, hike purses for 6 weeks

In this April 6, 2019 photo, Gift Box, right, with jockey Joel Rosario, wins the Santa Anita Derby horse race ahead of McKenzie and Mike Smith at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. (Keith Birmingham / Orange County Register via AP)
In this April 6, 2019 photo, Gift Box, right, with jockey Joel Rosario, wins the Santa Anita Derby horse race ahead of McKenzie and Mike Smith at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. (Keith Birmingham / Orange County Register via AP)
Associated Press

ARCADIA, Calif. – Santa Anita will race three days a week instead of four over the next four weeks because the track has lost some of its horse population to out-of-state venues.

Several stables have shipped horses to Kentucky to run at Keeneland and Churchill Downs, leaving Santa Anita with fewer horses to race and smaller field sizes.

Track officials have yet to decide whether to race three days or four for the final three weeks of the spring meet, which ends June 23.

The track said Friday it is raising purses for all non-stake races by $10,000 each for the next six weeks as a way to help owners and trainers who lost money when the track was closed for most of March.

The deaths of 23 horses since Dec. 26 forced the closure while the track’s dirt surface was examined. Racing resumed March 29, with one horse death occurring since then as the result of injuries in a turf race.

The purse increase announced Friday begins April 26 and runs through June 2. Track officials will decide later whether to continue it through the end of the meet.

The increase is being funded by existing excess money in the purse account and money from The Stronach Group, which owns the track.

Thoroughbred Owners of California chairman Nick Alexander says his group will match the purse supplements funded by TSG in the hopes of returning to racing four days a week.

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