Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Purse Structures & Money Flow Pt.1

As many who follow the blog know, I’ve been somewhat interested in finding new ways to structure purses, largely in an attempt to create greater incentive for horses to have longer careers.

An idea I’ve thrown around was to tier purses so that 4yo+ runs for more money than 3yo’s, who run for more money than 2yo’s and so on.

For once, rather than state an idea and assume it has merit I decided to dig in to the existing purse structure to see how it is distributed and see what if any changes could be made.

I chose Saratoga to review, which seemed as logical as any as it was underway at the time and is a quite lucrative meet.

So, what follows below is a break down of all purse money for the 2009 Saratoga meet. I elected to break the money down in several ways, by division and gender and then by race type.

I will make one note though about the numbers and state in advance that broad assumptions derived from them would be foolish as each meet is somewhat unique, not only in what it focuses on but where it falls in the year. Saratoga is known for its baby races and its top shelf stakes schedule. So it serves a slightly different purpose in late summer than say the Keeneland fall meet, where aside from the odd quarter-horse esque dash for the ultra-precocious types, most 2yo’s are still in training, therefore they don’t card many 2yo races. Also, for a meet like that, you have to card many more age restricted races then you would in late summer where most horses have to be introduced to the older horse ranks.

With that said here are the numbers…

Saratoga 2009

Percentage of Total Purse Money Offered By Age & Gender

2yo Fillies: 8.9%
2yo Colt: 9.6%
3yo Fillies: 6.9%
3yo Colts: 11.5%
3yo + F/M: 25.1%
3yo + C: 35%

Here is a further breakdown of the above stats with the stakes earnings for each division separated from the purses they run for in maiden, claiming or allowance races.

2yo Fillies 6.2%
2yo Fillies Stakes: 2.6%
2yo Colt: 6.9
2yo Colt Stakes: 2.7
3yo Fillies: 0%
3yo Fillies Stakes: 6.9%
3yo Colts: 0.9%
3yo Colts Stakes: 10.5%
3yo + F/M: 13.8%
3yo + F/M Stakes: 11.2%
3yo + C: 22.5%
3yo + C Stakes: 14.5%

Percentage of Total Purse Money Offered By Race Type

Maiden: 23.3%
Claiming: 8.7%
Allowance: 17.7%
Listed Stakes: 12.7%
Graded Stakes: 37.5%

*** The maiden percentage includes maiden claiming races. Allowance is a catch all for straight allowances, allowance-optional claimers and starter handicaps.

Percentage of Total Stakes versus Total Non-Stakes Races

Stakes: 50.2%
Non-Stakes: 49.8%

Points of note

• It’s hard to make the case that more money should be added to the stakes purses as half of the money is going to the top 1-2% of the breed to begin with.

• 25% of all money offered goes to maidens, the majority of which is going to 3yo and up maidens.

• The average race card is dominated by unproven or questionable stock. More cards have a higher percentage of maiden and claiming races than allowance or listed stakes.

• 75% of purse money is given to maidens and stakes horses. A wild curve considering the majority of horses fall somewhere in between those two points.

• At Saratoga, having a 3yo filly is the worst possible age/gender to have

*** Friday I’ll post the second part, giving ideas that will address putting the existing money into better use, as well as a structure that could incentivize keeping horses active longer or at the very least rewarding those that choose to stick around.

1 comment:

Kennedy said...

You should calculate the average purse per race. For instance maidens get nearly 25% of the total money but are the maidens running nearly 25% of the races?

It would be interesting to see the average purse by class level.