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Ship and Win Program Returns to Del Mar

Del Mar logo
“Ship and Win,” the highly successful program to lure out-of-state horses to the summer Del Mar meeting, will return for the third straight season with an additional boost in incentives offered to horsemen who bring new runners to the seaside oval.

The arrangement that offers a $1,000 direct payment and purse boosts to owners bringing fresh stock to the track’s 37-day session has proven solidly popular in the past two seasons and Del Mar – along with its Thoroughbred Owners of California partner – envision even better things for 2013.

Del Mar’s 74th race meeting will be presented from Wednesday, July 17 to Wednesday, September 4. 

When the “Ship and Win” program was first offered in 2011, the $1,000 direct payment was supplemented by a 20% bonus on top of purse monies earned in a new runner’s first local start. It drew 107 out-of-staters. Last year that first-start purse bonus was raised to 25% and the program attracted 137 additional starters. This year the bonus has been raised once more to 33 1/3% and hopes are that a corresponding increase in new starters again will occur.

“At the racetrack they’ll tell you to stick with a winner,” said Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s executive vice president for racing Tom Robbins, “and this simple plan has been an absolute winner. Through it we not only are encouraging owners and trainers from around North America to consider running with us this summer, we’re prodding our local owners and trainers to use their sources and resources to bring new faces into the mix.”

Despite field size diminishing at virtually every race meeting in the country of late, Del Mar has been able to show a steady rise in starters over the past two years, much of it directly attributed to “Ship and Win” runners. The average field size per race in 2010 at the shore track was 8.2; in 2011 that number was up to 8.4, and in 2012 it climbed to 8.7.

Most wagering studies indicate a notable increase in handle tied directly to field size. In Southern California on average that number comes to more than $50,000 per-race-per-additional-starter. So new horses feed handle, which in turn feeds purses, making the “Ship and Win” program a win-win for all involved.

Follow-up studies on horses brought into the state show that the vast majority of the qualifying runners who come west stay in California and continue to race at other state meets. In 2012, Del Mar’s 137 “Ship and Win” horses made an additional 318 starts at other race meetings in California through the end of the year.

“A program like this does nothing but good for all our racetracks,” said Mike Pegram, chairman of the board of directors of the TOC. “We’re happy to partner with Del Mar on it once again and have high hopes that it will prove even more successful in its third go-round.”

In 2011, Del Mar offered the richest overnight purse schedule in the country – and in the history of California – at more than $400,000 per day. When all figures were included, total daily average purses reached $630,000 per afternoon. In 2012, those figures rose to a total daily average of $687,498, a Del Mar record. Purse levels for 2013 will be above those advertised for last year.

Robbins noted that “Ship and Win” bonuses attached to already husky purses mean that shippers in a straight maiden race could be running for a $100,000 purse, $62,500 claimers would run for $90,000 and $12,500 claimers would be offered $37,000.

Robbins, who also is Del Mar’s racing secretary, suggested that any horsemen with questions about any portion of the “Ship and Win” program contact him directly at the track’s racing office at 800-874-8443.

Below is a sampling of the track’s projected purses for the 2013 season with “Ship and Win” bonus values alongside:

Race Type


W/ “Ship & Win” bonus




MD $50K


$ 50,000

MD $20K


$ 33,000






$ 90,000



$ 63,000



$ 41,000



$ 43,000



$ 37,000

$ 8,000


$ 26,000 



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