Archives for February 2021

Big Purse Increase for Del Mar Summer Meet

Del Mar racingThe Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will implement a major purse increase for its upcoming summer race meeting opening on Saturday, July 17, including substantial increases in all overnight purses and record incentives for owners and trainers that ship out-of-state horses to race at Del Mar through its popular “Ship and Win” program, track officials announced today.

Average daily overnight purses for the 2021 season will be increased by over 30% as compared to 2019 levels during which the track operated an uninterrupted racing schedule. With the increases announced today, Del Mar expects to average more than $700,000 a day in purses this summer.

The “Ship and Win” program for horses entering from outside California is doubling both its participation fee for owners (from $2,000 to $4,000) and its purse bonus from 20% to 40% for all eligible races. The purse bonus will be upped to 50% for dirt races in the “Ship and Win” program.

“We’ve got some real momentum in California as we prepare for the 2021 season and, based on the inquiries we’re receiving, owners and trainers are taking notice,” said Del Mar’s executive vice president for racing, Tom Robbins. “Our partnership with the Thoroughbred Owners of California, TVG and The Stronach Group has us on track for one of the most lucrative seasons in Del Mar history, which will be a boost for California racing and help set the stage for us to host the Breeders’ Cup here again in November.”

The 2021 purse enhancements are due in part to a partnership with the Thoroughbred Owners of California, FanDuel Group’s TVG horse racing television network and advanced-deposit wagering platform and The Stronach Group’s 1/ST Racing. The multi-party agreement, announced earlier this year, is expected to inject up to $15 million into California Thoroughbred purses and programs over the next two years.

In addition, Del Mar’s total handle for its 2020 racing seasons was well above initial projections – despite fans not being allowed onsite – adding funding to the purse increases for the upcoming live racing season.

Among the increases for overnights, maiden special weight races will jump from $55,000 during the 2020 summer meet to $70,000 this summer, maiden-claiming $20,000 races rise from $19,000 last year to $25,000 and open $40,000 claiming races purses will increase from $37,000 to $47,000.

As an example of how these increases affect the “Ship and Win” program, a maiden special weight race on the main track this summer will carry a purse of $105,000 ($70,000 plus a 50% bonus) plus a $4,000 starter bonus for out of state horses that qualify for the program.

“Anticipation for Del Mar’s race meetings is always high among horsemen but it will be even more so this year with the increased purse structure announced today,” said Gary Fenton, chairman of the TOC. “We look forward to continuing our work with the state’s key racing stakeholders to further strengthen California’s year-round racing program.”

Track officials also noted that Del Mar’s 2021 stakes schedule will be released in the coming weeks and that purses levels will be raised for several of its summer stakes races.

Del Mar will offer a 31-day summer racing season this year after racing 27 days in 2020. It will open with Saturday and Sunday cards (July 17, 18), then switch to a Thursday through Sunday schedule for the balance of the meet. The summer season will close, as usual, on Labor Day, Monday, September 6.

source: DMTC.com

3 Handicapping Factors to Look at When a New Race Meet Opens

WIN WIN WIN SETS TRACK MARK IN PASCO; 2 OTHER STAKES RECORDS FALLby Glen S.

A new racing meet starting up adds an extra dimension to handicapping these races.  Do some research, be prepared and you will be ahead of the curve. Here are a few things to look for in the first week of racing at a new meet:

Let’s begin with the trainers:
-Understand the difference between the local trainers and the trainers that ship from track to track
-Sometimes the local horses are returning off longer layoffs and may need a start or two
-The trainers that move from track to track usually have a plan and that is “win early”
-Find those hot trainers quickly because after a week or so, everyone else jumps on board

Preview of Ohio racing’s Belterra Park meet in April.

Here is where you take advantage of the public that doesn’t follow or do the research early. After about a month the trainer stats will have the shipped in trainers with a great record and the locals not so good. But remember, the win early trainers had that as their goal, whereas the locals are in for the long haul.  In other words, be patient.  The local trainers will win their fair share of races.

Understanding where the horses are coming from
-It takes a bit of experience but ask around or even reply to this blog and I will help you out. What I mean by this, the level of
competition varies greatly from the A, B and C tracks in North America. Get to know them.  What tracks produce winners at this meet, and which ones don’t?
-For example a horse coming from Santa Anita and now racing at Fonner park, will not look good on form. But what to
look for is, did the horse show speed. The speed horses from top track are far better bets than the plodders that just
ran at the back. Big difference from a horse showing lots of early speed and finishing last than a local plodder that passes one or
two late.

Get detailed meet statistics on any track with Equibase

Last tip, know the horse
-Is the horse ready to run today, e.g. many works coming in?
-Is the horse at the right distance or does this look like a prep for a later race?
-Is this the right surface for the horse in question?

After you have done your above research and made your notes, you still need to look at the race shape to see how the race sets up.  This requires a little more work, but it certainly can pay off in the end.

Good racing

Churchill Downs to Sell Beautiful Arlington Park in Chicago

Churchill Downs Inc. to sell historic Arlington International RacecourseLOUISVILLE, Ky., Feb. 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI” or “Company”) (Nasdaq: CHDN) announced that the Company has launched a process to sell the 326 acres in Arlington Heights, Illinois that are currently the home of Arlington International Racecourse (“Arlington”). CBRE will bring the redevelopment opportunity to market on behalf of CDI.

The Company is committed to running Arlington’s 2021 race dates from April 30 – September 25. The Company does not expect any sale of the Arlington site to close prior to the conclusion of Arlington’s 2021 race meet or that the conduct of the sale process will impact Arlington’s racing operations this year.

“Arlington’s ideal location in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, together with direct access to downtown Chicago via an on-site Metra rail station, presents a unique redevelopment opportunity. We expect to see robust interest in the site and look forward to working with potential buyers, in collaboration with the Village of Arlington Heights, to transition this storied location to its next phase,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “In the meantime, we are very committed to pursuing the relocation of Arlington’s racing license to another community in the Chicagoland area or elsewhere in the state. We are exploring potential options with the State and other constituents and remain optimistic that we can find solutions that work for the State, local communities and the thousands of Illinoisans who make their living directly or indirectly from thoroughbred horse racing. We are committed to the Illinois thoroughbred racing industry and will consider all options in working toward opportunities for it to continue into the future.”

About Churchill Downs Incorporated

 

Churchill Downs Incorporated is an industry-leading racing, online wagering and gaming entertainment company anchored by our iconic flagship event, the Kentucky Derby. We own and operate three pari-mutuel gaming entertainment venues with approximately 3,050 historical racing machines in Kentucky. We also own and operate TwinSpires, one of the largest and most profitable online wagering platforms for horse racing, sports and iGaming in the U.S. and we have seven retail sportsbooks. We are also a leader in brick-and-mortar casino gaming in eight states with approximately 11,000 slot machines and video lottery terminals and 200 table games. Additional information about CDI can be found online at www.churchilldownsincorporated.com.

Pro Bettor James Holzhauer’s Key to Success

“Holzhauer has dominated “Jeopardy!” like no one else since the current version of the television game show had its premiere in 1984. He won again on the episode that aired Wednesday, pushing his total earnings above $1.1 million, second on the all-time list behind the legendary Ken Jennings.”

The NY Times interviewed Holzbauer in the spring of 2019, asking him several questions of how he was so successful on the popular show.

The big key to his success was going aggressive from the opening bell.  He would go right for the $1,000 questions, skipping the lower tier amounts.

As stated in the NY piece, you could make an analogy to sports betting or poker tournaments. There are big advantages to having a lot of chips early on in a poker tournament. Consequently, the bettor can make plays that other people can’t.

Would you describe the traditional way of playing “Jeopardy!” as overly risk-averse?

“I would definitely say it’s too risk-averse,” explained Holzbauer.  “The funny thing is, my strategy actually minimizes the risk of me losing a game. There’s times in a football game where a team goes for a big TD pass. If you don’t take a risk like that, you’re not going to win. Really, the big risk is never trying anything that looks like a big gamble.”

You can read the full Times interview of Holzhauer here.

 

Champ is 2nd favorite for Cheltenham Gold Cup after impressive Newbury outing

Horse Racing tips: Here’s 8 we rate at Market Rasen on SundayChamp has halved in price for the Cheltenham Gold Cup next month, thanks to a prep run here which was about as impressive as a beaten effort could be. Considering he had not raced for 11 months and was facing specialist two-milers when he wants to go half as far again, it was a serious effort to finish just two lengths behind Sceau Royal and he is now 6-1 second-favorite for the Festival highlight, having been 12-1 hours before.

Some were inclined to fear Nicky Henderson had forgotten how to train when the Lambourn man announced Champ would line up in the Game Spirit rather than the longer Denman. The horse had, after all, looked every inch a stayer when making a late charge to land the RSA last March and there was every reason to worry that his jumping would suffer at two-mile pace, Champ having put himself on the deck two races ago…

Horse Racing Bets and Wager Types

DelMar how to place a wager

copyright Del Mar

Wagering is what drives the sport of horse racing. The thrill you get when your horse hits the finish line in front is second to none. Let’s take a look at the most popular horse racing wagers, in very basic details, for you to begin to learn and experience that thrill firsthand.

 

Straight Horse Racing Bets

Win Wager

The easiest wager one can place on horse racing is the win bet and, thanks to its simplicity, it is the most popular among horse racing fans. Wager on a horse to Win.  If he or she wins the race, you collect the payoff based on a $2 win mutual.  When you wager on a 2-1 winner, for example, you receive the base wager ($2) times the odds (2) for $4.00 plus the original wager back for a total of $6.00.  Your profit, in this case, is $4.00.

It’s that simple.  The hard part, of course, is uncovering the horse that will win.

 

Place and Show Wagers

The place bet is wagering on a horse to finish no worse than second, and the show bet is wagering on a horse to finish no worse than third.  There is often confusion among newbies, believing that a horse must finish third in order to cash on the show bet.  Many a ticket has been discarded because of that mistake.

In Europe most of the ‘show’ wagering is actually referred to as ‘place’ betting.

 

Exotic Horse Racing Bets

 Daily Double

This is the simplest type of exotic wager, and probably the oldest.  The Daily Double is combining the winners of two consecutive races.  If your wager includes both winners, you cash.  The base wager is either $1.00 or $2.00 depending on the host track.

What are the tax rules involving horse racing wagers?  Learn more about how the IRS now treats big winnings on the horse races.

Exacta / Perfecta

The exacta is picking the exact order of the top two finishers in a race.  You can play the exact straight or you can box the wager, so that if theexacta horse racing basics horses finish in any order, one-two, then you cash.  You can include as many horses as you wish in your exacta box, but the cost of the wager goes up exponentially and your chances of turning a profit diminish greatly. The base exacta wager is usually $1.00.

In Canada the exacta wager is referred to as the perfecta.

 

Trifecta

The trifecta is picking the exact order of the top three finishers in a race.  You can play the trifecta straight or you can box the wager.   The advantage of the ‘box’ is that if the horses finish in any order, one-two-three, then you cash.  You can include as many horses as you wish in your trifecta box, but the cost of the wager goes up exponentially.  The base wager is usually either $0.50 or $1.00.

 

Superfecta

The Superfecta is picking the exact order of the top four finishers in a race.  You can play this quad bet straight or you can box the wager, so that if the horses finish in any order, one-two-three-four, then you cash.  Like the exacta and trifecta, you can include as many horses as you wish in your superfecta box, but the cost of the wager goes up exponentially.  At many tracks throughout the country, the base minimum wager is only $0.10 and that makes the bet affordable for the recreational horseplayer.

The industry has added a lot of new bets over the past few years, and we’ll take a look at them in an upcoming primer.

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Japan

Japanese horse racing posts solid growth despite challengesJapanese horse racing posts solid growth despite challenges

Japanese horse racing recorded strong sales growth in 2020, in spite of economic uncertainties and the coronavirus pandemic. Both central and local horse racing are defying covid-19 challenges out of the race.

Horse racing as usual albeit without fans

The Japan Racing Association (JRA) reported its ninth consecutive year of sales growth with the annual turnover exceeding $28.6 billion, an increase by 103.5% from the previous year. Despite the challenging situation in times of COVID-19, Japanese central horse racing neither rescheduled or canceled a single event but maintained its full 2020 calendar.

The races were held without a spectator for over 7 months between February and October, however, the central horse racing has seen no major impact on overall sales. The cancellation of major racing events outside Japan also contributed to some of the star horses running in domestic races, which made certain races more appealing to fans.

Local horse racing also reported a jump in sales by 31% on a monthly basis, compared to that of the previous year. The stock price of the local Tokyo horse racing plummeted in March last year due to concerns over the negative impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the shares bounced back by October and traded above $56 for the first time since 1994.

Good Deeds. Churchill Downs Incorporated Gives $50,000 to Renew Investment with New Directions

Churchill winner's circleLOUISVILLE, KY., (Feb, 2021) – Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) announced a renewed investment in the Louisville, Kentucky, nonprofit New Directions Housing Corporation with a $50,000 donation. This donation comes after CDI’s $25,000 contribution in 2020 and is specifically aimed at the organization’s Repair Affair program.

Repair Affair has been around since 1993 and utilizes volunteers to assist low-income, elderly and/or disabled homeowners with free repairs. In just one day, a volunteer team can completely change the life of a homeowner with some simple repairs like gutter cleaning or a new lock set for a front door. Due to COVID-19, New Directions has pivoted from using volunteers to using paid, local contractors to complete repairs.

CDI is glad to support Repair Affair with New Directions, as much of their important work is completed in areas near Churchill Downs Racetrack. “New Directions provides such valuable services across the city of Louisville to keep people in their homes,” said CDI Director of Community Relations Cathy Shircliff. “We are so proud to be a part of their work in the neighborhoods surrounding Churchill Downs Racetrack.”

The donation is already having impact; just today New Directions was able to quickly assist an elderly woman who had no heat as temperatures plunged to far below freezing. Thanks to some quick action, the Churchill Downs neighbor had heat restored before nightfall after her neighborhood reached out to New Directions only this morning.

“We are excited to have Churchill Downs support us by funding Repair Affair projects that are in the neighborhoods around Churchill Downs,” said Max Monahan, the New Directions director of homeownership preservation. “This includes Beechmont, Oakdale/Wyandotte, Taylor-Berry and South Downs.”

The renewed partnership is only the latest endeavor in CDI’s ongoing commitment to being a good neighbor to those who live nearest to the home of the Kentucky Derby.

Since 1971, New Directions has been helping families overcome obstacles to affordable, safe, sustainable housing in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Through their housing, home-repair, and real estate development programs, they help build and strengthen communities, improve lives, and ensure a bright future for those in need.

Additional Donation to Legacy Group

Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) announced its recent $20,000 donation to Kentucky’s Legacy Equine Academy (“LEA”), an organization focused on connecting with African American and racially diverse youth by providing exposure to the modern traditions and vast opportunities in the horse racing industry.

LEA endeavors to educate its “Legacy Leaders” regarding the contributions of African American horsemen in the Thoroughbred industry as well as expose them to the professional opportunities in the equine world today.

The program presents the students with a unique opportunity to build life skills while learning horsemanship through a base curriculum and instruction. LEA offers a new audience of youth a specific pathway to industry certification and professional career opportunities, a model that has proven to be successful in showcasing the equine industry to future generations.

“As we reflect on the history of the Black horsemen that shaped this sport,” said CDI Director of Community Relations Cathy Shircliff, “we are committed to our investment in the future with Legacy Equine Academy.”

“Legacy Equine Academy would like to thank Churchill Downs Incorporated for generously investing in our organization!” said Ronald W. Mack, founder/director of Legacy Equine Academy. “We truly value CDI’s continued support and advocacy for the LEA mission. We look forward to expanding our relationship and shared endeavors.”

 

This Many Fans Allowed at Upcoming Keeneland Spring Meet

Horse Racing in the Covid-19 Era

Keeneland has announced plans to allow a limited number of fans to attend its 2021 Spring Meet, to be held April 2-23.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Keeneland to cancel the 2020 Spring Meet and hold an unprecedented five-day Summer Meet in July. The 2020 Summer and Fall Meets and Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland were closed to fans.

Keeneland clock racingFor this year’s Spring Meet, Keeneland will make available a limited number of pre-sold ticket packages including dining, Grandstand reserved seating and general admission.

Keeneland will announce details about how to purchase ticket packages and pricing on Monday, March 1. Fans are encouraged to visit keeneland.com/newsletter to sign up for ticket alerts in the coming weeks.

Keeneland will also allow limited access to race participants, sponsors, box holders and Club members.

“The enthusiasm and loyalty of our fans are what make Keeneland so special,” Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said. “We have missed their presence on race days and we are excited to welcome them, albeit in limited number, back to Keeneland. We appreciate the support of the Central Kentucky community this past year, and we hope this step is the first toward somewhat normal operations in the fall.

“While our team has worked diligently on a plan for expanded attendance this spring, the safety of our guests and employees remains our top priority,” Arvin added. “As such, our COVID-19 protocols remain in place and will be strictly enforced during the Spring Meet.”

In accordance with Keeneland’s COVID-19 safety measures, all individuals will be required to wear a face mask and maintain proper social distancing while on the grounds. Health screenings and temperature checks will resume at all entrance gates for the race meet.

Source: Keeneland.com

Questions and Answers about the 2021 Kentucky Derby

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions regarding this Year’s Kentucky Derby & Kentucky Oaks from Churchill Downs.

Will the Derby take place on the first Saturday in May [2021]?

We do not anticipate moving our traditional date of the first Saturday in May. Last year, racing was not permitted in the state of Kentucky at all on the first Saturday in May so we had to move the Derby in compliance with those restrictions. This year, we don’t anticipate any restrictions on running the race on its traditional date.

Will masks be required at this year’s Derby? 

All indications suggest that masks will be required at Derby 2021 based on the projections of public health experts. We will continue to operate within the guidance and recommendations issued by local and state health officials as well as the CDC.

Churchill Downs Stock UpgradedWhy aren’t General Admission tickets on sale?  Why not open the infield going for people to spread out?

Based on current public health guidance, tickets are currently limited to those that are assigned to a specific seat and that can be socially distanced from other groups of attendees. If the circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19 improve, we will consider selling general admission tickets.

What is being done to protect the backside workers that live on-site at Churchill Downs? What precautions will be taken for when they return? 

Just as the rest of the team at Churchill Downs Racetrack, the backside now operates under increased health and safety protocols. Churchill Downs invests in robust and routine testing that has helped us to successfully identify and isolate infection to prevent spread. 

What tickets are available to the 2021 Kentucky Derby and Oaks?

Based on current public health guidelines, we expect seating capacity for the 2021 Kentucky Derby to be extremely limited. At this time we are working to accommodate guests with contractual seating. If the circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19 improve, then we will sell more reserved seats and consider selling general admission tickets. To be notified if and when additional tickets become available, please subscribe to the Kentucky Derby’s email list through the box on this page or follow @KentuckyDerby on social media. You may also be able to purchase tickets which become available from contractual guests through our official ticket resale site at kentuckyderby.com/resale or through our official experience package partner at derbyexperiences.com.

Will there be any changes to tickets for this year’s Derby?

This year, reserved seats to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks will be all-inclusive. This change allows us to improve our guests’ experience by reducing the amount of time spent in line, eliminating the need for cash transactions for food and beverages and providing the opportunity to try a greater variety of food. Further information can be found at kentuckyderby.com/all-inclusive.

Will my tickets be refunded if COVID causes the Derby to be canceled or postponed?

We don’t anticipate any restrictions on running the Kentucky Derby this year on our traditional date of the first Saturday in May.

If you purchase tickets directly through Churchill Downs via Ticketmaster or the Official Kentucky Derby Ticket Exchange, and spectators are not permitted, you will be refunded the full amount paid less any processing, handling or shipping fees. Churchill Downs’ full ticket & admissions policy can be found here.

Derby Experiences has worked with its hotel, tour & transportation partners to offer an improved refund policy in 2021. If you purchase tickets through our official experience package partner, Derby Experiences, and spectators are not permitted, you will receive a credit for 100% of your payment towards the next scheduled running of the Kentucky Derby. For more information visit derbyexperiences.com

If you purchase tickets from any other source, you will be subject to that source’s refund policy.  Churchill Downs is unable to process refunds for tickets purchased through a third party.

When will tickets to the rest of Derby Week and the Spring Meet go on sale?

We anticipate these Kentucky Derby tickets will go on sale in February 2021.

Source: Kentuckyderby.com