Once again, people will talk about how no one wants to race on the half mile track. For those who feel this way, I say poppycock. If the payments for the stakes races were lower or more added money was contributed to the final purses, people would enter and take their chance in drawing the outside posts. Let's compare the payments for the Hambletonian and Yonkers Trot:
|2yo Sustaining Fee||$500.00||$600.00|
|3yo Sustaining Fee||$2,250.00||$2,000.00|
|Starting Fee - Elimination||$12,500.00||$10,000.00|
|Starting Fee - Final||$12,500.00||$10,000.00|
|Purse for Final||$1,500,000.00||$445,594.00|
|Payment to Purse Ratio||1.85%||5.08%|
This year, if you make it into the final, you will have contributed 5% of the net final purse to race in the Yonkers Trot but only 2% to race in the Hambletonian. To get to the $40,000 elimination at Yonkers (if there was one), it would have cost you $12,625 and you run the risk of drawing the dreaded post seven or eight. For the Hambletonian, it will cost you $15,250 to get into a $70,000 elimination where you may draw posts eight, nine, or ten. Based on this information, would you enter your horse in the Yonkers Trot?
For all the talk about the great purses at Yonkers Raceway, they certainly don't invest it in their stakes races, they leave it up to the owners to pay a much bigger chunk of the purse. Hence, we have the lack of starters. I assure you if the Yonkers Trot went for a guaranteed $750,000 or the starting fees were reduced, more horses would drop in and risk the outside posts; the numbers make sense.
Yonkers needs to decide whether or not they want to be real players when it comes to stakes races. Either lower the fees to get into the races or raise the added money to make it worthwhile to enter. Otherwise, hosting these races with so few horses is not worth the investment and the track would be better served to scrap these races.