In an effort to attract out-of-state horses to run at its winter/spring meet, officials at Santa Anita have announced the introduction of the 'Sunshine Bonus.' The bonus offers $3,000 of guaranteed money paid to the owners of eligible horses making their first starts at Santa Anita, excluding stakes races and debuting horses.
“Along with the 10% raise in our average daily purse distribution–which now totals $533,000–we're hopeful this new Sunshine Bonus program will help to attract horses that have not run in California over the past 12 months,” said Chris Merz, Santa Anita's Director of Racing. “This is a very significant enticement to train and race at what we believe is a magnificent year-round facility.”
Merz added that sizeable bonuses will also be paid to those same horses depending on where they finish in their first starts at Santa Anita.
“Excluding stakes and first-time starters, the Sunshine Bonus will also offer a 35% bonus to the owners of those horses finishing first through fifth in their first starts here,” Merz explained. “So for instance, if a horse ships in and wins a $61,000 maiden special weight race, the owner will not only receive the standard winner's share of $36,600, [they will] get the first time Santa Anita starter bonus of $3,000 as well as the 35%.
“This adds up to total money-won of $52,410 in a $61,000 race. The numbers speak for themselves and we're hoping horsemen nationwide will take this into account when they consider sending horses here this winter and spring.”