Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in England

Cheltenham Festival attracts record viewership on first dayCheltenham Festival attracts record viewership on first day

The Cheltenham Festival 2021 attracted record viewership on only its first day, with both the average and peak audience up significantly on the previous year.

ITV Racing drew in an average of 1.1 million viewers, with a total of 1.5 million tuning in to watch the Champions Hurdle, won by Rachel Blackmore, riding the hugely anticipated Irish racehorse Honeysuckle.

The viewership spike has been largely attributed to the number of people working from home or on furlough due to the ongoing pandemic, in addition to the absence of spectators at the actual racecourse.

Nielsen Sports went as far as to predict that the festival would see its biggest television figures for over a decade, pointing to a general 250,000 increase in television viewership due to people working from home and furlough schemes…

1 of These 4 Horses Could Win the KY Derby

Just when it appeared safe to come out of quarantine and not be bombarded with theories about what would happen if this team or that team were to “run the table.” We pretty well know what happens now in the usual context of that phrase. Exactly one team really…

KY DERBY FUTURES: WHO’S HOT?

Concert Tour (+ 590 Circa, 6-1 William Hill). For a change, the flavor of the week did not become the Derby favorite for the moment. He did, however, provide Baffert his record-extending eighth victory in the Rebel Stakes. That it came at the expense of a local favorite (see below) gave the win more significance. Gary and Mary West might have thought they had Derby winners with Game Winner and Maximum Security. They can entertain the notion again with the Street Sense colt out of a Tapit mare. On second thought, his 94 Beyer Speed Figure from Saturday does not measure up to stablemate Life Is Good’s 107 from this month’s San Felipe Stakes.

Hozier (40-1 Circa, 25-1 William Hill). How many Bafferts can you get into one “Who’s Hot?” section? Having shown the ability to rate the pace in breaking his maiden last month at Santa Anita, this Pioneerof The Nile colt closed from seventh in the last 550 yards to finish a distant second in the Rebel. If he is not in Concert Tour’s league, and if Concert Tour is not in Life Is Good’s league, Hozier might not be fast enough even as longer distances are more to his liking.

Risk Taking (45-1 Circa, 20-1 William Hill). His odds shortened at William Hill despite not racing since he won the Grade 3 Withers early last month at Aqueduct. It could not have been because bettors made him 42-1 in this month’s pari-mutuel Kentucky Derby Future Wager. His 1:02.1 workout over 5 furlongs Sunday at Belmont Park could not have been why. He is still on target for next month’s Grade 2 Wood Memorial, but we already knew that. Maybe someone with grand visions for this Medaglia d’Oro colt trained by Chad Brown put a big bet on him.

The Future of Horse Racing?

Las Vegas sportsbook contestIf the US is the room, sports betting is the elephant everyone wants to address…you arrive at 2021, where US bettors have an unprecedented knowledge of sports betting.

“Point spread,” “moneyline,” and “totals” now mean something even to the casual sports fan. The past three years have seen a remarkable increase in layperson sports betting knowledge.

Naturally, that’ll have a huge impact on horse racing.

Horse race bettors–especially casual fans–now have an entirely new vocabulary they can leverage to bet on races. Historically (and even nowadays) horse racing has been dominated by the parimutuel structure. Odds and payouts change based on the wagers that come in from around the world. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for race tracks and horse racing tech providers.

Dr. Laila Mintas says: “Fixed odds will certainly help the cross-sell of racing to sports betting players; it’s not a good experience for someone used to fixed odds to back a horse at 5/1 and get paid 5/2 through the pari-mutuel system.”

“The opportunity for fixed odds betting,” she continues, “is in taking the sportsbook player who has a $50 football parlay on a weekend and giving them the opportunity to place $20 win bets in a format and presentation style which looks like their existing online sportsbook […] this is about bringing betting players to view racing as another sport they can place bets on.”

Response from NTRA’s Alex Waldrop to HPBA Lawsuit regarding HISA

Horse racing tips and best bets this weekend on eve of CheltenhamIn 2020, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed, and the President signed into law, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA). Through this landmark legislation, HISA recognizes and empowers the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (Authority) to protect the safety and welfare of Thoroughbred horseracing’s most important participants—its horses—by delivering commonsense medication reforms and track safety standards.

 

HISA has broad support from the Thoroughbred industry, including: organizations such as the Breeders’ Cup, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, The Jockey Club, The Jockeys’ Guild, American Association of Equine Practitioners and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association; the nation’s leading racetracks, including Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Gulfstream Park, Keeneland, The Maryland Jockey Club, Monmouth Park, The New York Racing Association and Santa Anita; leading horsemen’s organizations such as the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the Thoroughbred Owners of California; prominent Thoroughbred owners Barbara Banke, Antony Beck, Arthur and Staci Hancock, Fred Hertrich, Barry Irwin, Stuart S. Janney III, Rosendo Parra and Vinnie Viola; leading Thoroughbred trainers Christophe Clement, Neil Drysdale, Janet Elliot, Claude “Shug” McGaughey, Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher and Nick Zito; grassroots organization Water Hay Oats Alliance, with more than 2,000 individual members; international organizations the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities and The Jockey Club of Canada; and prominent animal welfare organizations American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Animal Wellness Action and the Humane Society of the United States.

 

The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), along with several of its state affiliates, seeks to upend this historic and bipartisan effort to protect Thoroughbred horses and ensure the integrity of horseracing. The HBPA has recently filed a baseless lawsuit in federal court in Texas, seeking to declare HISA unconstitutional on its face. Setting aside its fatal threshold deficiencies—including the lack of any concrete or imminent harm—the HBPA’s lawsuit is meritless. HISA is constitutionally and legally sound. On behalf of a broad spectrum of organizations underlying the sport of Thoroughbred horseracing, we offer the following responses to the various claims by HBPA.

1. HBPA Claim: HISA violates the constitutional “non-delegation doctrine.”

Reality: HISA does not violate the non-delegation doctrine because the United States Supreme Court has long recognized that Congress may rely on private entities so long as the government retains ultimate decision-making authority as to rules and enforcement. HISA recognizes and empowers the Authority to propose and enforce uniform national anti-doping and equine safety standards, but only upon review, approval and adoption by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Though this is a first for the Thoroughbred horseracing industry, HISA’s structure is not new. HISA follows the FINRA/SEC model of regulation in the securities industry, and, like that model, is constitutional because any action the Authority undertakes is subject to the FTC’s approval and oversight.

 

2. HBPA Claim: The HISA runs afoul of the Appointments Clause.

Reality: The Authority is a private entity, independently established under state law, and recognized by HISA. As such, it is simply not subject to constitutional restraints on appointments (or removal) of its Board members. Indeed, any such claim is at war with HBPA’s non-delegation theory premised on the fact that the Authority is a private entity. On the one hand, the HBPA claims that the Authority cannot take action because it is private entity, but then argues, on the other hand, that the Authority cannot appoint its own Board members because it is effectively a public entity. These two HBPA arguments are in conflict, but have one important thing in common: they are both wrong.

 

3.  HBPA Claim: HISA violates due process protections.

Reality: The HBPA’s due process theory also falls flat. Though the HBPA complains of equine industry participants regulating their competitors, a strong bipartisan majority of the House and the Senate made clear in HISA that a majority of the Authority’s Board members must be from outside the equine industry. To be sure, a minority of the Authority’s Board members will have industry experience and engagement. But it is difficult to understand how that statutory recognition of the value of informed voices constitutes a deprivation of due process. What’s more, with respect to the minority industry Board members, HISA expressly provides for equal representation among each of the six equine constituencies (trainers, owners and breeders, tracks, veterinarians, state racing commissions, and jockeys). Furthermore, the committee tasked with nominating eligible candidates for Board and standing-committee positions is made up of entirely non-industry members. HISA further imposes broad conflicts-of-interest requirements to ensure that all of its Board members (industry and non-industry alike) as well as non-industry standing committee members (not to mention their employees and family members) are required to remain free of all equine economic conflicts of interest.

 

Beyond these robust safeguards, established precedent confirms what common sense indicates: even when a private entity is engaged in the regulatory process, agency authority and surveillance protect against promotion of self-interest. Under HISA, for example, the FTC has the authority to decline the Authority’s proposed rules and overrule any sanctions—ensuring that neither the Authority nor the individuals making up its Board can use their position for their own advantage in violation of constitutional restraints.

 

*****

Contrary to HBPA’s hyperbole, HISA is neither unprecedented nor unconstitutional. HISA emulates the long-established FINRA/SEC model, with even greater protections for all stakeholders. It is disappointing that the HBPA—an entity whose mission is supposedly the welfare of horses and horsemen—would seek to undo much needed reforms to protect the industry’s participants.

Source: NTRA.com

Will Fans Be Allowed at Del Mar this Year?

Drew Brees at Del Mar

Drew Brees at Del Mar

Covid-19 and Horse Racing Attendance

With improving trends in public health data, growth in vaccination rates and the gradual relaxation of limits on attendance at sporting and performance venues in the state, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club officials are looking forward to a return of fans to the seaside track when it opens for its 82nd summer season on Friday, July 16, track officials said today.

Track personnel are planning for spectators on site when the racetrack kicks off a 31-day season that will feature 34 major stakes, a substantial increase in purses and a return to the sun and fun vibe that has been part of its culture since it first opened its gates in 1937.

“We will continue to follow the guidance of local health officials and our medical advisors, but based on what has been announced for other local attractions such as the San Diego Padres and SeaWorld, we are optimistic we will have fans in the stands this summer at some level,” said Del Mar president and COO Josh Rubinstein.  “We have the advantages of a 350-acre site and a facility that can host people quite comfortably with appropriate social distancing as needed.”

With its traditional opening day feature – the Runhappy Oceanside Stakes – topping the bill, the Friday, July 16 kickoff will initiate a Friday-Saturday-Sunday beginning to the first two weeks of the season.  The remainder of the meet will feature Thursday-through- Sunday racing weeks with a finale on Labor Day Monday, September 6.  First post daily throughout the stand will be at 2 p.m. with the exception of Fridays in which first post will be at 4 p.m.

Source: DMTC.com

Horse Racing Ends as Marquis Downs will be permanently shut down. Casino Lives On

Saskatchewan’s horse racing community is in shock after Saskatoon’s Prairieland Park announced it is permanently cancelling horse racing [in Canada].

“For Prairieland to shut the future of horse racing in Saskatchewan down is numbing,” said Eddie Esquirol, president of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Association and the owner of 30 race horses.

“There’s 500 people involved in the industry.”

Esquirol said 40 to 50 per cent of people in the industry in Saskatchewan are Indigenous.

He said people are going to be forced to relocate to Manitoba or Alberta if they want to continue with horse racing.

“It’s a real gut punch for the horse racing industry in Saskatchewan,” said trainer Anita Gardipy.

Gardipy’s family has been training horses for many generations.

National HBPA sues to stop Horse Racing Integrity Act

Washington DCOrganizations representing Thoroughbred horse owners and trainers have filed a federal lawsuit to stop a new law in which Congress punted on its legislative duties and, instead, handed the power to regulate horse racing over to a private group. The suit claims that under the new law, the authority created is allowed to monopolize power and change not only the rules, but the federal laws that govern horse racing across the country…

Will Horse Racing Survive in New Mexico?

New Mexico horse owners struggle with no racing at Sunland ParkNM Horse owners struggle with no racing at Sunland Park

The entire racing season at Sunland Park was officially canceled on Feb. 18 after being on hold for months, and it has now forced many horse owners trainers to reassess their situation.

Some have chosen to make the tough call and move their entire stable elsewhere to ensure their livelihood and that of their staffs.

Others have chosen to stay put because moving would cost too much money. In turn, they’ve had to sell some horses to keep others fed and stay afloat.

“If we were to have ran our full meet, they wouldn’t have made any money here,” said Rick Baugh, the general manager of Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. “There just wasn’t enough purse money to go around.”

The driver of purse money is the casino and because it had been closed until just recently, the purse money was very limited.

According to Baugh, it was at an approximate $1.4 million, which wouldn’t go very far at Sunland Park…

I wonder… is the casino open?

Horse racing returns to Colonial Downs on July 19

horse racing blinkersLive horse racing at Colonial Downs plans to kickoff on July 19 in New Kent.

Thoroughbred horses and trainers from around the country will run every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for seven weeks beginning July 19 and concluded at Sept. 1. Post time each day will be 1:45 p.m.

Highlights for the coming season include daily purses of $500,000, opening week kick off with $400,000 in Virginia Bred and restricted stakes races, and more than $1.2 million in stakes during the closing weekend that will be highlighted by the Virginia Derby and Virginia Oaks premier races on Tuesday, Aug. 31.

Premium tickets go on sale on Mar. 15. General admission and parking remain free. For more information and the full racing schedule, visit www.colonialdowns.com.

How Horse Racing Can Embrace Innovation to Build a Better Future

Fans at Hawthorne racecourse. Fans at Hawthorne racecourseWith 53 per cent of horse racing fans over 55 years of age, an obvious question must be how to attract a younger audience.

Racecourses have attempted to broaden their appeal by tagging concerts on to race days or offering student discounts.

However, while this may sell extra tickets at the time, it isn’t shaking up the fundamentals of the sport to enhance the racing experience itself and therefore fails to provide a long-term solution.

Authorities must consider how racing is positioned to appeal to the next generation of millennials, and beyond that, Generation Z.

Check out Ed Meyer’s preview of the Belterra Park meet in Ohio

Vast differences exist in the interests and media habits of over-55s and under-35s. For example, specifically within existing horse racing fans, only 33 per cent of over-55s show an interest in the latest technology products, compared to 62 per cent of 18-34 year olds.

Similar disparities appear when it comes to digitalization, consumer behavior and technological engagement.

Consequently, what has worked in the past for the existing demographic of horse racing fan will not have the same appeal to future audiences…