New Owners Plan to Restart Racing at Yavapai Downs

A Phoenix-based ownership group that also includes Kentucky Downs president Corey Johnsen has purchased Yavapai Downs with plans to restart racing at the Prescott Valley, Ariz. track.

Source: New Owners Plan to Restart Racing at Yavapai Downs

Successful 2017 Hawthorne Race Meet

Despite a rain-filled opening two months of the fall thoroughbred meet at Hawthorne and a cancellation of the closing day card due to extreme cold temperatures, both handle and field size saw significant increases as the meet concluded on December 29.

Total daily handle for 36 day fall meet averaged $1,708,081, up 9.17% from the $1,564,655 wagered per racing day in the fall of 2016. While the poor weather led to a slight onsite decrease of 5% from $54,031 per card in 2016 to $51,284 per card this fall, In-state handle rose 3.74%, $105,305 this fall compared to $101,510 in the fall of 2016. Out of state handle on Hawthorne’s races rose 10%, increasing to $1,551,492 this fall versus $1,409,114 wagered per day in the fall of 2016.

Fans at Hawthorne racecourse. Fans at Hawthorne racecourse

Despite being able to contest only 27 races on the turf this fall, compared to 46 in 2016, average field size for the fall meet was 8.49 starters per race up from the average of 7.80 starters per race in 2016.

With the help of grant funds from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the 2017 fall meet also brought about the return of the stakes schedule. Longshot My Bariley kicked off the stakes season with a late closing score in the return of the Hawthorne Derby on October 28. Prado’s Sweet Ride and Goneghost were winners in the slop in the Illini Princess and Buck’s Boy Handicap respectively on November 4. In the Showtime Deb, trainer Larry Rivelli saddled a winner in Richie’slilwildcat while RIvelli’s Pass the Gravy was the victor in the Sun Power Stakes.

The grade 3 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap made its return on November 25 as 2016 Grade 2 Marathon winner Scuba got up in the shadow of the wire to catch Futile. On the Gold Cup day undercard, Shar Ran was the winner of the Powerless Handicap while Goneghost impressed again in winning the Lightning Jet Handicap.

The fall stakes season closed out with Cowgirl Callie just holding on in the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante while Pass the Gravy stretched out to win the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity.

“This fall meet was about making things simple and doing everything we could to offer a great wagering product for our players,” stated Hawthorne President and General Manager Tim Carey. “Fans want to see full fields and competitive racing and our horsemen were great about filling races at all levels. We make it a point at Hawthorne to avoid racing on top of other tracks, something our players and simulcast partners appreciate as we aim to be a focus for the bettor. Lastly, the support we receive on a daily basis from TVG with racing coverage along with our online partner in Xpressbet have helped bring Hawthorne back to the forefront in racing.”

With the fall thoroughbred meet complete, there is no rest at Hawthorne. Immediately upon the conclusion of the meet, track maintenance crews and staff will be taking to the track to begin the track conversion to a Standardbred surface as Hawthorne is the final remaining track in the United States to race dual breeds over the same oval. 11,000 tons of dirt will be removed along with the Fontana safety rail as the track will be graded to a perfectly even consistency and pylons placed down, all in a 96 hour period in preparation for a January 5 start to the winter harness season.

Source: Press Release

Industry Profile: Jockey Antonio Gallardo

Two seasons ago, Antonio Gallardo rode a 3-year-old first-time starter named Imperial Hint to an eye-opening victory in a 7-furlong Tampa Bay Downs allowance in a sizzling time of 1:22.39. The Luis Carvajal, Jr.-trained Florida-bred colt lowered that time to 1:22.15 in his next start with Gallardo in the irons, the Florida Cup Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore Stakes.

“That is the dream of every jockey every year, to have a nice horse like that,” said Gallardo, who watched Imperial Hint race to a second-place finish in the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint last month under Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano. “In this game, you stay positive because you can find a good horse anywhere.”

The 30-year-old Spaniard, whose meteoric rise upon moving to the United States resulted in three consecutive riding titles at both Tampa Bay Downs and Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pa., has shown a knack for winning all kinds of races, including five graded stakes the last two years.

But while Gallardo’s quest to secure another “big horse” continues at full speed, he’s a devoted family man who strives for the right balance between his professional and personal lives.

Gallardo’s early-meeting Oldsmar performance, with 17 victories, has earned him the SenÞor Tequila Mexican Grill Jockey of the Month Award.

When the 2017 season at Presque Isle Downs in western Pennsylvania ended in early October, Gallardo, his wife Polliana and their two children, Carlos, 9, and Christa, almost 4, traveled to his hometown of Jerez in Cadiz, Spain for about a month to visit his relatives.

Gallardo’s ambition to be known as one of the world’s best jockeys hasn’t changed. But the pull of home, both in Spain and Tampa, helps charge his batteries to succeed on the track.

“That (traveling to Spain) helped me a lot. My family is real close, and I was able to have fun with them and forget about the horses for a while,” said Gallardo, who got to visit his parents, his sister, his grandmother and other relatives. “If one of us is crying, everybody is crying, and if one of us is happy, everybody is happy.

“It was good for me mentally and good for my muscles and my bones. If I have a chance to go next year, I’m going again,” he added.

After riding in New York last season, where he finished seventh in the 2017 winter meeting standings at Aqueduct with 19 victories, Gallardo has returned to his home away from Spain on Florida’s west coast.

Gallardo, who finished second in North America in victories in both 2015 and 2016, riding 652 winners during that two-year period, recently bought a home on a farm a few miles from Tampa Bay Downs. The property includes a seven-stall barn, several paddocks and a riding arena.

Gallardo said the reasons he has returned to Tampa Bay Downs are “simple. It’s my home, my family is here and the weather is good. I was making more money in New York, but I wasn’t as happy.

“As a jockey, you risk your life every day. Yes, you have to make money, but you have to have fun and enjoy your family. Money comes and goes, but when time leaves, it never comes back to you.”

Gallardo finished third in the Monmouth Park standings this year with 50 victories. On Dec. 16, he won the inaugural $125,000 Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association Marion County Florida Sire Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on 3-year-old gelding Mo Cash with a bold move between rivals on the turn.

Among his five graded-stakes victories is the 2016 Grade II Nashua at Aqueduct on Hemsworth. He also won the $400,000 (ungraded) Poseidon Handicap last winter at Gulfstream on Imperative on the Pegasus World Cup Invitational card and finished fifth on War Story in the $12-million Pegasus.

It appears Gallardo’s next major assignment is a matter of “when,” not “if.” Whoever it happens to be with, the connections can rest assured their jockey will know the way home.

 

Source: Press Release

Horse Racing and Hockey?

NY Islanders Bid Selected For Belmont Park Development

You may have recently heard … the state of New York has selected a bid by the NHL franchise Islanders to build an 18,000-seat arena on a 43-acre site at Belmont Park.

Source: NY Islanders Bid Selected For Belmont Park Development

Mahoning Valley Increases Purses for 2018

Is Horse Racing Dead?

Mahoning Valley Race Course, in cooperation with the Ohio HBPA, announced a 5-7% purse increase effective Jan. 2.

Source: Mahoning Valley Increases Purses for 2018

Crazy Events in the History of Horse Racing

Winx winThe sport of horse racing can occur in the most uncontrolled environments. Horses running at 40 mph, weather conditions and human interaction can make this game unpredictable and, at times, even absurd.

A victory for West Coast on the East …

Source: In horse racing, expect the unexpected

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of U.S. Regulation in 2017

Washington DCIt’s that time of year – to look back on the last 12 months, on the substantial progress and the serious missteps – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly – of the U.S. regulatory world.

Source: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of U.S. regulation in 2017

Jockey Christophe Soumillon sets new European mark with 306 winners

jockey riding a horse raceTwo-time Arc de Triomphe winning jockey Christophe Soumillon set a new European mark for winners in a calendar year with 306 on Thursday. The 36-year-old Belgian-born France-based star achieved both his goals this year of winning a ninth French jockeys title and breaking Pierre-Charles Boudot’s record of 300 winners set in 2016. Soumillon rode almost daily… [Read more…]

A Look Back at the Best of Horse Racing in 2017

Racing! Time to look back at the best of horse racing moments in the year 2017.

Los Angeles Times Full coverage

Source: Racing! Time to look back at the best of 2017

2017 November U.S. Handle Rises 6.39% Due to New Tax Rules

New tax rules regarding withholding and the reporting of pari-mutuel wagers have driven total U.S. wagering above $890.8 million for November. The average handle per race day is up 9.7% for the month compared with a year ago, according to Equibase.

Source: November U.S. Handle Up 6.39% Due to New Tax Rules