PRIZE money pots at York Racecourse will increase by nine per cent to more than £5.8 million this year.
Chiefs at the Knavesmire track have announced extra investment of nearly £500,000 on last year’s record levels with contests from Group 1 to apprentice handicaps benefiting from the boost.
Of the 115 races scheduled for the 2013 season, which begins with the three-day Dante Festival on May 15, none will be worth less than £10,000.
Aside from the self-funded evening fixture on Friday, July 26, which receives no Betting Levy funding or recognition, all remaining racedays at York will have a prize fund of at least £100,000.
The race that will receive the biggest boost will be the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes, staged during the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival in August, with the famous Group 2 contest having its prize money increased by a third to £200,000.
It will now be staged on Ebor Saturday, which this year falls on Saturday, August 24.
The jewel in York’s crown, the Group 1 Juddmonte International, will see the world’s top middle distance horses compete for a record £750,000 (up £25,000), while the Betfred Ebor has its place as Europe’s richest Flat handicap reinforced by the addition of a further £25,000 – bringing the race value up to £250,000.
Prize money at the Dante Festival has been increased by £65,000, bringing the overall value of the meeting to nearly seven figures.
The leading fillies’ race of that meeting, the Tattersalls Musidora, will offer £10,000 more to owners who want to run their Classic-seeking three-year-olds at York.
Overall, the 17-day season will benefit from a prize money bonus of more than £491,000. This has been met by an increase in racecourse contributions – the executive will fund 48 per cent of the £5.8m-plus total compared with 43 per cent five years ago – and from increased Levy funding.
The latter is a function of the betting activity on York’s races which is paid by bookmakers back into the sport.
By the end of this year’s campaign in October, York will have distributed more than £26m in prize money for the five-year period from 2009.
Lord Grimthorpe, York Racecourse chairman, said: “York is run for the good of this wonderful sport so I’m delighted that we are able to invest in the race programme and increase prize money in 2013 to record levels.
“The aim, of course, is to continue to attract the very best horses to York and to stage competitive, compelling racing action.
“As with all of these increases, they are only possible because of the unstinting support of the owners, sponsors, racegoers, punters and our commercial operations.
“I believe this investment, coupled with continuing improvements in facilities at York, means that we can look forward to the season ahead with great enthusiasm.
“I hope that the progeny of Frankel will find this increased funding of the Gimcrack attractive when they are ready to run.”