Ship And Win Bonus and Maiden Dirt Bonus Return to De Mar in 2024

Del Mar | Benoit

The Ship & Win Bonus and Maiden Dirt Bonus will return this summer for Del Mar's 85th season of racing. Entering its 14th consecutive season at Del Mar, the Ship & Win program provides an incentive for horses from out of state to race at the seaside oval by providing a guaranteed $4,000 check for any qualified runner in their first start at Del Mar. There is also a 40% bonus applied to purse winnings for that initial start, as well as any subsequent outings during the eight-week meet. As an example, the summer meet's first-condition allowance purse of $76,000 is elevated to over $106,000 with the “S & W” supplement.

Local owners and trainers continue to be strong supporters of the Ship and Win program. In the summer of 2023, 100 of the 184 “S & W” horses who came on board were owned and trained by California connections. In 2022, it was 125 of 222 “S & W” runners who were locals.

The Maiden Dirt Bonus, entering its third season at the track, provides a 20% purse bonus to horses of any age in maiden special weight races on the dirt. That extra money applies to horses who run first through fifth in “open” straight maiden races and it offers a similar reward to those who run second through fifth in California-bred dirt races. This supplement results in these maiden special weight races offering $90,000 purses.

The bonus is available only to those trainers who have fewer than 85 horses on the Southern California circuit.

“These two programs have helped provide backbone to our daily racing cards,” said Del Mar vice president and racing secretary David Jerkens. “The inclusion of out-of-state horses adds to the depth of our racing product and the fact that the vast majority of them stay on and compete at other tracks in the state has a positive ripple effect for all of California racing.”

To view the S&W program rules and eligibility requirements, visit

“The key metrics for a flagship meet with the status of Del Mar are quality racing, big field sizes, integrity and safety,” said Bill Nader, the CEO of Thoroughbred Owners of California. “Del Mar scores high marks across the board and, as a result, the attractive racing content drives handle, which is our sole source of purse generation. Programs like “Ship & Win” and Maiden Dirt Bonus contribute to this success.”

The Del Mar summer season opens July 20 and concludes Sept. 8.

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