Keeneland 2018 Spring Meet Has Near-Record Wagering

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Kentucky

Keeneland closed its 2018 Spring Meet on Friday with near-record all-sources wagering on Keeneland of more than $157 million, highlighted by an all-time single-day handle record on Toyota Blue Grass Day and driven by full fields of quality horses and competition among the nation’s top owners, trainers and jockeys.

All-sources wagering on Keeneland racing totaled $157,172,604 for the 16-day Spring Meet, held April 6-27, ranking just behind the record of $158,640,591 set during the 16-day 2013 Spring Meet, and a 14.39 percent increase from the $137,399,556 recorded during last year’s 15-day Spring Meet. Average daily all-sources wagering of $9,823,288 rose 7.24 percent from $9,159,970 in 2017.

Keeneland painter photo by Richard J. Nilsen

copyright AgameofSkill.com

Keeneland set wagering records for all-sources handle and Pick 4 and Pick 5 pools on Toyota Blue Grass Day, April 7. Total all-sources handle was $22,634,861, eclipsing the previous record of $21,736,983 set April 9, 2016. Wagering on the All-Stakes Pick Four ending in the Toyota Blue Grass (G2) totaled $1,065,002 versus the previous record of $733,800 set April 8, 2017. The All-Stakes Pick Five handled $899,196, smashing the previous record of $653,827 from April 20, 2013.

A rollback from the takeout increase in the fall of 2017 was favorably received by horseplayers as evidenced by the substantial increase in all-sources handle.

Keeneland offered an early Pick 5 wager with a 15 percent takeout for the first time this meet on the first five races of each race day, and it was an unqualified success. Total handle for the wager over 16 days totaled $4,104,850, an average of $256,553 per day.

On-track attendance and wagering were just shy of last year’s Spring Meet totals despite inclement weather for the meet’s opening two weekends. Total attendance of 250,475 was nearly even with last spring’s 252,247. Average daily attendance of 15,655 was just short of the 16,816 in 2017.

A record crowd of 28,307 basked in the sun on Maker’s Mark Day, Friday, April 13, to surpass the previous Friday attendance mark of 24,734 established April 2, 2010. On Saturday, April 21, 37,378 fans, the fifth-highest single-day attendance in Keeneland history, celebrated the season with an afternoon of racing.

On-track wagering this spring was $17,457,750 compared to $17,668,979 last spring. Average daily on-track handle was $1,091,109 versus $1,177,932 in 2017.

“This was an exceptionally successful Spring Meet in so many ways – from near-record handle to robust attendance and racing of the highest caliber,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “Mother Nature threw us a curve ball or two, but the sometimes inclement weather never dampened the tremendous enthusiasm of our fans. We are extremely grateful to the community, our horsemen and corporate partners for their tremendous support throughout the spring.”

Source: Keeneland

Del Mar’s Ship & Win Gets More Lucrative

Is Horse Racing Dead? Del Mar shipper program gets richer

Press Release

Del Mar’s highly effective “Ship and Win” program, where owners and trainers are given solid incentives to import out-of-state horses to race locally, returns for its eighth summer at the shore in 2018 with yet another husky bonus increase providing additional encouragement to bring runners to the place “where the turf meets the surf.”

When the program first started in 2011, horsemen bringing Thoroughbreds to Del Mar were rewarded with an automatic check for $1,000 when they made a local start along with a 20% bonus payment on top of whatever purse monies were earned in that initial outing. Last year those incentives had increased to a $1,500 check and a 30% bonus.

For 2018, the “Ship and Win” payout has grown even sweeter still. Now the automatic check has climbed to $2,000, while the 30% first-race purse bonus again will be in place. As it has since its inception, Del Mar works in conjunction with the Thoroughbred Owners of California in formulating and actualizing the program.

Drew Brees at Del Mar

Drew Brees at Del Mar

“This has been a wonderfully successful program for our horsemen, for Del Mar and for all of California racing,” said Del Mar’s racing secretary, David Jerkens. “We’re approaching 1,000 horses brought into the state utilizing ‘Ship and Win’ and they’ve made thousands of starts at all its major racetracks. When these horses come our way, we find they almost all stay in the state. We added to the bonus money again this year to make it even more lucrative to those willing to step up and we’re hoping to see another increase in new stock at our summer meeting.”

The first season that Del Mar put “S & W” in play, it drew 107 horses. Heading into 2018, the track now can count just under 1,000 horses having been brought on board via the program, with those horses having made over 1,500 starts locally and more than 3,500 starts at other state tracks, such as Santa Anita, Los Alamitos and Golden Gate. The equine influx has helped Del Mar maintain one of the highest field-size averages in the country – in 2017 it was 8.6 runners per race (summer) and 8.5 (fall).

Jerkens made note of some of the increases for “S & W” runners when the 30% first-race bonus is calculated into the track’s already healthy purse structure. In the case of a starter in a first-level allowance race, he said the $62,000 purse would be heightened by an additional $18,600 for “S & W” horses, meaning they are instead running for a prize of $80,600. A $32,000 claimer normally races for a pot of $39,000, but with “S & W” monies added in the purse rises to $50,700. Even the track’s lowest-level horses, the $20,000 maiden-claimers, see their purses climb from $20,000 to $26,000.

The racing secretary emphasized that the 30% bonus applies to purse payouts across the board, not just the winner’s share.

He also noted that for local horsemen the program presents the possibilities of personal gain along with the ability to enhance the racing product statewide as it competes for wagering dollars nationally. In the case of racing outfits from outside the state, he said “S & W” makes a direct statement that Del Mar and California racing in general is more than happy to welcome them to one of the best circuits in all the sport.

There are only a few basic rules for “S & W” horses: An eligible horse must have made his/her last start outside California and cannot have raced in the state within the past 12 months. First-time starters are not eligible. All stakes runners are eligible to receive the $2,000 starter fee, but no stakes runners – including overnight stakes – are eligible for the 30% first-race purse bonus.

Those with questions concerning the program are encouraged to contact Jerkens, or Del Mar’s executive vice president for racing, Tom Robbins, at (858) 792-4230.

Del Mar’s summer stand this year will begin on Wednesday, July 18 and continues through to Labor Day Monday, September 3 for a total of 36 racing days. Its fall meeting runs from Friday, November 9 to Sunday, December 2 for 16 racing dates.

Upscale Seating Area, The Stretch, Planned for Saratoga

Saratoga canopy walk throughThe New York Racing Association has announced a major capital improvement project at Saratoga Race Course designed to create an enhanced hospitality area for racing fans and revitalize the section of the grandstand near the top of the stretch.

According to the Blood-Horse, The Stretch will offer a total of 32 new modern boxes, each offering unique configurations accommodating parties ranging from four to 12 guests, in comparison to traditional clubhouse boxes which each seat five guests. The options include tiered boxes, which each feature a halfmoon table and total of eight seats split evenly on two levels. The lounge boxes offer comfortable couch-style seating and accommodate four to twelve guests. Lastly, the flex boxes contain three tables which each seat up to four people, and can be configured to host four, eight, or 12 guests, depending on availability and the size of the party.

Source: Upscale Seating Area, The Stretch, Planned for Saratoga

The Everest: The Richest Horse Race on Grass Could Get Richer

“We want to keep innovating, if you don’t innovate you perish,” he says. “If you stay complacent and think people will come, they won’t.

“You’ve got to look for new things and you’ve got to look for things that the younger generation can engage in.

“I think racing right around the world, not just Australia, has missed one or two generations and we don’t want to be making that same mistake again.

The Everest: The richest horse race on turf WTHITV.com Full coverage

Source: The Everest: The richest horse race on turf

Is Horse Racing Dead? 2017 Breeders’ Cup a $96.8 Million Impact on San Diego

Del mar chantal billboardThe Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which were contested at Del Mar racetrack for the first time in 2017, generated $96.8 million in direct and indirect economic benefits for San Diego County, according to an economic impact study.

Source: Breeders’ Cup a $96.8 Million Impact on San Diego

Is Horse Racing Dead? Oaklawn Park Raises Purses Again

Press Release

Purse records keep tumbling at the track with the richest purses in America between January and April.

Starting with the March 17 Rebel Stakes card, Oaklawn will implement the second increase of the season, the 18th straight year the Hot Springs track has bumped purses at least once during a meet. Overnight purses will be bumped between $1,000 and $3,000. Maiden Special Weights and Allowances races are growing by $3,000 per race, taking the Maidens to $81,000 and the Allowances to as high as $85,000.

Logo Oaklawn Park racingAdditionally, claiming races and maiden claiming races with a claiming price of $20,000 or greater as well as starter allowances are receiving a $2,000 increase. Other races are receiving a $1,000 bump.

“We believe Arkansas through Oaklawn may have the best racing-gaming model in America,” said Louis Cella, President of Oaklawn. “Racing will always come first, but thanks to our vibrant gaming business we are able to offer the rich purses that attract the large fields and adds to the excitement our fans get to enjoy. Even with a rainy February, we still treated our guests to a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience.”

The March 17 card was already the second richest of the Oaklawn season with the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) for aspiring Derby hopefuls, the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares and $300,000 Essex Handicap for older colts and geldings. With the increase, purses are projected to be more than $2 million this day.

“We’re excited to reward our owners and trainers with the second purse increase of the season,” said Wayne Smith, General Manager of Oaklawn. “Our best races are still to come and we’re looking forward to watching the country’s best 3-year-olds prepare for the Triple Crown races.”

Live racing at Oaklawn continues through Saturday, April 14.

The Making of Horse Racing Conference Equestricon II

Tampa Paddock

Up close and personal at Tampa Bay Downs paddock. Copyright AGOS

The Making of Equestricon II

Although he actual trade show will take place on the Monday and Tuesday prior to the championships, Equestricon will have a week-long presence and involvement with the Breeders’ Cup, Sharp noted.

“That’s the kind of energy and excitement we’re hoping to build for Breeders’ Cup week, trying to get fans who are traveling to the Breeders’ Cup to come in early and get to experience Louisville and make a whole week’s vacation out of it.”

Source: The Making of Equestricon II

JPMorgan Chase to Accept ADW Deposits

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Tuesday, February 6, 2018) – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today announced that JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest bank in the United States and the largest credit card issuer in the U.S. with more than 80 million active credit cardholder accounts, has begun approving credit card deposit transactions with U.S. licensed and regulated advance deposit wagering companies (ADWs).

The decision by Chase to accept its cardholders’ account funding transactions with ADWs approved to use the industry’s 7802 merchant category code is expected to have a significant and positive impact on overall U.S. pari-mutuel handle, particularly advance deposit wagering, which already is the fastest growing segment of the U.S. pari-mutuel wagering market. It also could lead to acceptance of these types of transactions by other leading credit card issuing banks that have not allowed their Visa or MasterCard customers to use their cards to fund licensed and regulated ADW accounts.

“This is a major victory for our industry and one that would not have come about without the efforts of Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) and his staff,” said NTRA President and Chief Executive Officer Alex Waldrop.

Said Barr, who serves on the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee and is Co-Chairman of the Congressional Horse Caucus: “I am delighted that this latest move by Chase will have a positive economic impact on Thoroughbred racing and breeding in Kentucky and across the nation. I have appreciated working with the NTRA and Chase to make this development possible and look forward to continuing our efforts on behalf of Kentucky’s signature equine industry.”

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

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