Will Santa Anita’s Ship and Stay Program Help Horseplayers?

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D.S. Williamson

November 26th, 2017

On Dec. 26, Santa Anita begins its traditional winter-spring thoroughbred racing meet. Santa Anita's winter-spring meet is known for providing some of the most electrifying racing action anywhere in the world.

By instituting the Ship and Stay Program, the Great Race Place hopes to provide more competition in each and every race. More competition should increase daily handle.

Check info about Santa Anita's proposed Ship and Stay Program.

What is Santa Anita's Proposed Ship and Stay Program?

Santa Anita's proposed Ship and Stay Program is based on the same program that Del Mar has. Del Mar found a way to increase race participation sizes by offering higher purses for horses that qualify under the Ship and Stay Program.

As outlined on Santa Anita's website, the ship and stay program offers a 20% bump on purses for a horse's first start at Santa Anita. For a horse to qualify, it mustn't have run at the Great Race Place in the past 12 months. Santa Anita will provide 10% bumps on purses for the next 2 to 3 starts. That's the stay part of the program.

If $1,000 is more than a 10% bump on the next 2 to 3 races, $1,000 will be added to the purse. The $1,000, or 10%, bump in bonus will be divided between the original owner and trainer that brought the horse to California.

The Ship and Stay Program will be solely funded by The Stronach Group and Santa Anita.
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Cupid wins the Gold Cup at Santa Anita(Benoit Photo)

How Could Santa Anita's Ship and Stay Program help the Thoroughbred Industry in California?

It should provide much larger fields on all levels of thoroughbred racing:  claiming, allowance, and stakes levels. 20% is nothing to sneeze at. This could especially be true for claiming horses that run at Turf Paradise, the B track closest to the Great Race Place. The potential of having a horse claimed in a more lucrative race with a 20% higher purse should be too attractive to pass up.

When it comes to allowance races, my prediction is that horseplayers should expect fuller fields in allowance turf events at Santa Anita. The turf horses currently running at Santa Anita aren't close to being as well-bred as those that are trained by Todd Pletcher, Chad Brown, and Barclay Tagg on the East Coast.

A 20% bump in purse on a $50,000 turf allowance race equates to $10,000. That's a lot of money. Not only that, but some of those horses from the east could jump into stakes races on the Santa Anita turf.

How Will the Ship and Stay Program Effect Horseplayers?

Favorites don't always win at Santa Anita. Favorites don't always win at any racetrack. It's important to note that with the Ship and Stay Program, fuller fields favor the better handicapper. Raising the level of competition in horse races always raises the level it takes to make winning wagers.

That's not a bad thing for horseplayers. That's a great thing for horseplayers! The better the competition on the track, the better the chances of the very best horseplayers making more profit.

Handicapping horse racing takes skill. There's always luck involved. But, it also takes a lot of skill. Horseplayers should end up benefitting the most from Santa Anita's Ship and Stay Program.