Does anyone know why?
It is one of the great horse racing mysteries.
People in California claim it is because there is a "horse shortage". But why should that be? Accepted racing economics states the higher the purses the more horses you will have, and So Cal has some of the highest purses in the entire sport. The state, at least the southern half, should be swimming in horses. But oh! they say. The cost of doing business here is so high! And that it is. Day rates there are very high. The cost of Workmen's Comp is very high. But still, high purses should be attracting scads of horses. That's the theory. Then they come up with another excuse. Well, the state is "isolated". There aren't very many other tracks to draw from, like there are on the East Coast. That's right, there aren't, but those high ... purses ... must ... attract ... horses ... it is ... gospel. Horses from thousands of miles around should be breaking down the backside doors to get in there and run for those purses. If the theory about high purses is good.
Here's my theory. They are sissies out there who won't run unless it is a five horse race and they are assured picking up some check or another. So they duck, and scratch, and hem, and haw, and the racing just sucks as far as betting. But they get a check!