New book explores Montana’s horse racing history

After a 10-page introduction and timeline, and a chapter tracing the advent of horses and racing in the New World and Montana, Wahler starts knocking off the tracks. She documents by chapter the history of racing in Fort Benton, Virginia City and Deer Lodge in the earliest days, then on to Helena, Butte and Anaconda and Daly’s Bitter Root Stock Farm in Hamilton during what she called racing’s first Golden Age in Montana.

Wahler hasn’t ignored the first Montana horse racers. While not state-sanctioned or controlled, racing continues in places like Browning, Crow Agency, Dodson, Baker and Busby. It includes the popular Indian relay racing that Wahler said is helping keep tracks around the state from disappearing under development.

Traces of Spokane’s first training track remain …

Trainer Kevin Patterson is On Fire

Mountaineer racetrack

When Frank Passero, a brash Canadian laying siege to Gulfstream Park, saddled a record 14 straight winners in 1996, the odds of performing that feat stood roughly similar to your shot of getting hit by a meteor. In fact, a theoretical $2 parlay on those victories would have returned a staggering $7 million. Kevin Patterson’s Mountaineer streak stands six short of that, by comparison, and while letting a deuce ride on that cinchy octet would merely make your car payment for the month, those eight MOVED like meteors, most leading at all calls. This ostentatious parade of speed should come as no surprise to followers of the bonafide super-trainer.

“Kevin extracts speed,” said Patterson’s main client, Robert Cole, who as a skilled handicapper and longtime student of the game well comprehends the advantage of shaking loose in front, even tailoring his acquisitions to fit Patterson’s training style. ” I don’t claim closers,” stated the long-successful Cole, who once led the nation in wins and made his considerable fortune in the mortgage business.

With his own best successes, like …

Eng: Show Betting is the Ideal Horse Racing Bet for New Fans

… I wrote in my newcomer’s book “Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies” that racing has a bet tailored for novices. It’s the simple show wager. And years later I still feel that way.

I do think a few things should be done to show betting to make it more attractive.

First is lower the takeout (amount a track takes from a betting pool) to 10% from the 16-18% it is in most states. Even if that makes the show pool break even or a small minus it can be considered a loss leader like companies do with certain items in the retail business.

Now, tracks can lose money in huge minus show pools. My advice there is to eliminate show betting in that handful of races. Those races are fairly easy to predict. When a favorite looks like it’s going to be 2-5 or 1-5 odds, why bother.

I would then like to see nickel breakage in the show pool. I know this can be done because places like NYRA and Woodbine already offer it.

What makes show betting so easy for newcomers to learn and win is their horse can run first, second, or third to cash.

Now to generate potential larger payouts from show bets I suggest reintroducing show parlay cards. I guarantee most of you have been at the races with friends and partnered in a show parlay …


Five Irish Meetings for Horse Racing Fans in Ireland

Five summer meetings for horse racing fansThe tradition of summer racing at Bellewstown dates back centuries.  Background: Bellewstown Racecourse, on the Hill of Crockafotha in Co Meath, is beautifully situated in a rural setting with views of the Mourne Mountains and the Irish Sea. There are two festivals, …

Killarney July Festival

Background: A picturesque track overlooking the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, the first three days of the meeting take place in the evening, with flat racing on the Monday and mixed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Ladies’ day, on the Thursday, is exclusively national hunt. Racing on Thursday and Friday is a day-time affair.

When: It takes place from July 15th-19th inclusive.

History: Racing at Killarney dates back to 1822 and was described in glowing terms some 20 years later by …

William Hill to Close About 700 Betting Shops in UK

Wednesday’s news that William Hill will close about 700 betting shops over the next few months, around a third of its retail estate, puts the jobs of 4,500 company staff at risk (and up to 12,000 in the industry) and will also mean a cut of around £21m in media rights payments to Britain’s racecourses, on top of an unexpected £17m drop in the money collected by the Levy Board in 2018-19, which was revealed in May.

Only the staff who are going to lose their jobs can be seen as unfortunate or blameless, however, as the 15-year story of the disastrous decision to allow high-speed, high-stakes roulette into Britain’s betting shops draws towards what was always likely to be a painful conclusion.

William Hill, along with the other major chains, was allowed to suck billions of pounds from what were already deprived areas the length and breadth of Britain, when Labour’s 2005 Gambling Act legitimised the gaming machines which they had been quietly introducing to their shops for ….

NYRA Expands Pick-5 Wager Today to Outside Outlets

The New York Racing Association has announced the Late Pick 5 will become available to all horseplayers beginning on Wednesday, July 3, at Belmont Park and continuing through the remainder of 2019.

Previously offered as the NYRA Bets Late Pick 5 and available exclusively to NYRA Bets customers, New York on-track bettors, and those betting with a New York simulcasting facility, the Late Pick 5 will now be available to all wagering platforms.

“We are pleased to respond to the popular demand of horseplayers and open the Late Pick 5 to horse racing fans across the country,” said Tony Allevato, president of NYRA Bets and executive producer for NYRA TV. “An exciting summer of racing will be that much more interesting with the late pick 5 on the wagering menu every day at Belmont and Saratoga.

The Late Pick 5, featuring a low 15 percent takeout rate and 50 cent minimum, will be offered on every card at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack.

The popular multi-race wager, first offered at Saratoga Race Course in 2016, will also feature the same carryover provision of 100% of the net pool into the next day’s Late Pick 5 if there are no winning tickets. All multi-leg wagers with a carryover provision will have a mandatory payout on the last race day of the Belmont Park meet slated for Sunday, July 7.


The open Late Pick 5 will begin on Wednesday, July 3, leading into the 2019 Stars & Stripes Racing Festival slated for Saturday, July 6 with five graded stakes races, including the launch of the inaugural $5.25 million Turf Triple Series, featuring the Turf Trinity and Turf Tiara for sophomores over three legs at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.

The Turf Trinity begins with the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational on July 6, while the first leg of the filly Turf Tiara will be the Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational – both events will be contested at 10 furlongs and broadcast live nationwide on NBC.

Also featured on the lucrative Stars & Stripes card is the Grade 2, $700,000 Suburban Handicap, the Grade 3, $250,000 Dwyer and the Grade 3, $300,000 John A. Nerud, a Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In Event to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

The spring/summer meet continues at Belmont Park through Sunday, July 7, before live racing shifts to Saratoga Race Course for the 2019 meet beginning on Thursday, July 11.

Portland Meadows closes after 73 years

A photo history of the Rose City’s race track

“Under lights as bright as a thousand moons, big-league horse racing comes to Portland Saturday,” The Oregonian wrote on Sept. 14, 1946.

The newspaper called the new, “ultra-modern” Portland Meadows racetrack a “long-courted dream for race-minded” locals, one that cost “considerably more than a cool million” to build.

The track’s proponents heralded it as the Rose City’s arrival on the national sports stage.

“This is not a ‘pocket edition’ of any other track but a full-scale race plant of which the Northwest can be proud,” declared developer Bill Kyne ahead of the inaugural race.

Just over 72 years later, what was likely the track’s last live horse race took place with much less fanfare. The venue’s owner, The Stronach Group, says Portland Meadows has been running in the red for years. It’s looking to turn the property into a warehouse/distribution complex. The racing season at the facility ended in February.

Suffolk Downs, New England’s Last Thoroughbred Horse Track, Hosting Final Live Races

BOSTON (AP) — New England’s last thoroughbred horse track, Boston’s Suffolk Downs, is hosting its final live races this weekend, but it’s not clear what comes next for the industry, which continues to receive millions of dollars in casino tax subsidies.

Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, the company that operates the once grand, 84-year old track, has been running a handful of summertime races since losing out on its bid to build a resort casino on the property in 2014.

Two years ago, it sold the property — where the Depression-era champion Seabiscuit was discovered by the team that launched him into the limelight — to a real estate developer that plans to build apartments, condominiums and offices on the 161-acre property straddling Boston and Revere.

But Sterling Suffolk still wants to remain in the racing business and is betting on legislative approval this year to make that happen.

The company has proposed restoring the Great Barrington Fairgrounds near the New York state line while keeping its more lucrative simulcast and online betting operations in the Boston area. Current regulations don’t allow for a state-licensed race operator to split its operations this way…

New Race Condition at Saratoga Meet

Saratoga starting gateThe New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) had announced it will offer a series of races restricted to 2-year-olds purchased for $45,000 or less at their most recent auction starting in July at Saratoga Race Course.

“We are happy to try something new at Saratoga,” said Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations. “We feel the Maiden Allowance Auction Series will further support our smaller trainers and owners, who play an important role in our racing program, and also provide an opportunity for new owners to get into the game and showcase their horses at Saratoga.”

The Maiden Allowance Auction Series expands on the current condition book to encourage prospective owners from all racing jurisdictions to buy horses with the incentive of a chance to compete at the Spa.

The open juvenile races, to be restricted to horses that went through the ring for $45,000 or less at their most recent auction, will be offered in the first condition book of the Saratoga meet for purses of $75,000.

With the summer sales season approaching, a number of opportunities to buy young horses are on the horizon including Fasig-Tipton’s The Saratoga Sale, set for August 5-6; as well as their New York-bred Yearling Sale, set for August 11-12, both in Saratoga Springs, New York.

“These races will provide a great opportunity for owners and trainers to experience the thrills and excitement of winning a race at Saratoga with a modestly priced auction purchase,” said Boyd Browning, president and CEO of Fasig-Tipton Co. “Buyers are needed at all price ranges at Thoroughbred auctions and this is the type of program that incentivizes owner participation. We applaud NYRA for introducing this program and look forward to seeing these races at Saratoga.”

The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June Two-Year-Olds & Horses of Racing Age Sale, slated for June 12-14, will also offer prospective buyers an opportunity to enter the market at an affordable level.

“This is a win-win situation for NYRA and the owners of moderately priced horses,” said Tom Ventura, president of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company. “The owners will have an opportunity to race their horses for a quality purse, without having to run in a maiden claiming race, while also avoiding the heavy heads that are targeting the Saratoga meet. With more horses breaking their maiden, NYRA will have a larger pool of horses to fill next level allowance and stakes races. It should have a trickle-down effect in the sales ring, in a part of the market that could always use more buyer participation. Buyers will certainly appreciate a chance for an early return on their investment, while limiting the competition. Hats off to NYRA for creating an innovative option for owners.”

The new condition will also include up to $13,500 in New York Breeding Fund open company owners awards for New York-breds finishing 1st through 3rd in the new Maiden Allowance Auction Series.

“Creating added value for middle market horses is a positive move for everyone,” said Jeff Cannizzo, executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. and NYRA board member. “Establishing more maiden winners is positive long-term for New York. Doing this in Saratoga makes it sweeter for owners and breeders. New York-breds become even more lucrative at this level and will earn up to 20% open company owners awards on top of the purse. This is positive for breeders and owners here in New York where there will be many New York-breds eligible for this new condition. In 2018, New York-breds alone won 34 percent of the races at Saratoga and $11.4 million in purses.”

The 2019 Saratoga meet will feature 76 stakes across 40 racing days, highlighted by the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers and the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney as the anchors of two of the biggest racing days in North America.

“It’s great to see innovative programming in the condition book,” said Joe Appelbaum, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA). “NYTHA applauds the effort to provide more opportunities for a range of horsemen to succeed at Saratoga. We would expect this initiative to fill races, be highly competitive and to provide a path to a more robust racing program.”

The 2019 Saratoga meet begins on Thursday, July 11 and runs through Labor Day, Monday, September 2. Following Opening Weekend, Thursday, July 11 through Sunday, July 14, racing at Saratoga will be conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays. Closing week will run Wednesday, August 28 through Labor Day, Monday, September 2.

Source: NYRA

Forbes’ Top 10 Horse Racing Tracks In The World

30th Horse Dies At Santa Anita; Hall Of Fame Trainer Banned From TrackDespite the recent negative publicity, the world remains fascinated by horse racing, billionaires continue to invest in championship thoroughbreds, and the racetracks around the globe still remain among the most elite. Here is my selection of the top 10 racetracks in the world:

Churchill Downs, Kentucky (opened in 1875, hosts the Kentucky Derby)

Ascot, United Kingdom (opened in 1711, hosts The Gold Cup, King George VI) …

Top 10 Horse Racing Tracks In The World

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