ValueCappers and handicappers may find this interesting: Vets have advised that there be some level of proportion between purses and claiming prices. Bottom line is that if the purse is greater than the claiming price of the horse, there’s a disincentive for excellent care for the horses.
Dangerously high purses? A look at Aqueduct breakdowns
In a 2009 AAEP white paper titled “Putting the Horse First: Veterinary Recommendations for the Safety and Welfare of the Thoroughbred Racehorse,” veterinarians advised that purses should not exceed claiming prices by more than 50%. At the lowest claiming levels at the current Aqueduct meeting, purses are more than 500% higher than the tag—ten times over the 50% recommendation.
“The very simple answer is that the purse becomes more valuable than the horse,” Arthur said in early March. “It creates a negative incentive to look after the long-term welfare of the horse when the purse is so disproportionate to the value of the horse. That’s the thinking on it. The recommendation was basically to discourage incentives that would overpower the responsibility to look after the welfare of the horse.”