Santa Anita's “Ship & Stay” program, which was initiated Dec. 26 and has now been in effect through 63 racing days, has attracted 100 “new” horses to the Arcadia oval, who have accounted for 204 starts, generating bonus money of $208,308, the track announced Wednesday.
Funded by The Stronach Group, “Ship & Stay” provides ongoing bonuses to individual owners and trainers who bring horses to Santa Anita from out of state. Bonuses are paid to those connections that originally bring these horses to California for their first three starts. These bonuses, which pay 20% of a horse's first race winnings and 10% (or $1,000, whichever is greater) of second and third race monies, will be paid even if the horse is claimed.
“This program is a great motiving factor for trainers to try and entice owners to bring their horses to race here in California,” said trainer Vladimir Cerin, whose Fahan Mura (English Channel), a 4-year-old Pennsylvania-bred filly, has won all three of her Santa Anita starts after shipping in from New York. “To be honest, I haven't looked in my account yet, but this is a great deal for trainers, because we're picking up 10% [of the bonus]. So this program makes you want to find horses that are going to be competitive. Even if they get claimed away in their first or second start, you're still rewarded for running them where they belong.”
“We're very happy with the results Ship and Stay has provided,” added Santa Anita Stakes Coordinator Chris Merz, who devised the program. “This has generated a lot of buzz and proven it can be a mainstay moving forward here at Santa Anita. Owners and trainers are incentivized to bring horses here and we are hopeful we can build upon what we've been able to accomplish in a short period of time.”