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.

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

British Horse Racing Marketing Targets True Fans Among Youth

young attractive British racegoerHorse racing in England is on an “upward curve” but faces challenges in keeping both the traditionalists and the younger generation happy, a leading figure in the sport says. Paul Fisher, chief executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, which is responsible …

Source: Sports: British horse racing targets true fans among young

2017 Belmont Park Fall Meet – All Sources Handle Rises Significantly

Press Release

Average daily handle up 12.5 percent

Average field size up 7.5 percent

Despite racing three fewer days compared with 2016, and the full cancellation of the closing day card due to severe weather, the Belmont Park fall meet generated all-sources handle of $303,405,927, a 3.6 percent increase over the 2016 Belmont fall meet.

Average daily handle over the course of the 35 days of racing was $8,668,741, a 12.5 percent increase over 2016.

Average field size for the 329 races contested from September 8 to October 28 was 8.17, a 7.5 percent increase over 2016.

2017 Belmont Park Fall Meet

  • All-sources handle: $303,405,927
  • All-sources average daily handle: $8,668,741
  • Average field size: 8.17
  • Race days: 35
  • Races: 329
  • 2017 On-track handle: $37,259,201
  • 2017 Betting interests: 2,687

2016 Belmont Park Fall Meet

  • All-sources handle: $292,799,814
  • All-sources average daily handle: $7,705,258
  • Average field size: 7.60
  • Race days: 38
  • Races: 354
  • On-track handle: $37,566,563
  • Betting interests: 2,692

How Thoroughbred Horse Racing Bets on Science, and Wins

copyright 2016There’s no test to show a one-eyed horse named Patch could make it to this year’s Kentucky Derby . There’s no test for coming up from behind and winning the whole thing, So It Is-style. This story appears in the fall 2017 edition of CNET Magazine.

Source: How horse racing bets on science, and wins

British Horse Racing Targets True Fans Among Younger Players

Ascot racecourse in UKHorse racing in England is on an “upward curve” but faces challenges in keeping both the traditionalists and the younger generation happy, a leading figure in the sport says. Paul Fisher, chief executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, which is responsible for blue riband events such as the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National, said it is… [Read more…]

Is Horse Racing Dead? New Mexico Track Reports Gains

Press Release: Albuquerque Downs

Albuquerque Downs ended its 57-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse race meet on September 24, recording increases in total wagering handle and average daily purse distribution.

A total of $13,078,819 was wagered on Albuquerque Downs’ 543 live races, an increase of 3 percent over the $12,706,327 wagered on the track’s 582 live races during its 60-day season in 2016. Of the total wagered this year, $3,284,178 was bet on track and $9,794,641 was wagered at off-track sites.

horse racing blinkersAlbuquerque Downs’ average daily handle on its live races reached $229,453 per day, an increase of 8 percent over last year’s average daily handle of $211,772. The track’s average-per-race handle — $24,086 — was 10 percent higher than the 2016 average-per-race handle of $21,832.

Much of Albuquerque Downs’ handle increase can be attributed to the fact that, for the first time in its history, the track’s all-Thoroughbred Wednesday programs were featured on TVG starting on July 26.

Horsemen benefited from Albuquerque Downs’ brisk business, as the track paid $9,317,484 in purses for 57 days, down less than 1 percent from the $9,406,287 paid for 60 days in 2016. However, average daily purses in 2017 reached $163,465, up 4 percent over the 2016 average of $156,771, and the 2017 average-per-race purse of $17,159 was 6 percent higher than last year’s average-per-race purse of $16,162.

Albuquerque Downs’ 2017 season was scheduled for 58 days, but one date — Friday, August 11 — was canceled due to weather conditions.

Got Rebates?  Click here to learn more

* * * * * * * * * *

Alfredo Juarez Jr. was Albuquerque Downs’ leading Thoroughbred jockey with 51 wins from 160 mounts, nine more than runner-up Elvin Gonzalez, who rode 42 winners from 188 mounts. Juarez also led all Albuquerque jockeys with mount earnings of $708,540.

Albuquerque Downs’ leading Thoroughbred trainer, Justin Evans, prepped the winners of 39 races from 127 starters, 20 more than runner-up Henry Dominguez, who won 19 races from 105 starters. Evans also finished first in starter purse earnings at $561,075.

Jose Luna Silva topped all Albuquerque Downs Thoroughbred owners with 11 winners from 32 starters, five more than runner-up Solitaire Stable, which won six races from 30 starters. The father-and-son team of Sam E. Stevens and Sammy L. Stevens of Lamesa, Texas, topped the track’s owner standings with purse earnings of $115,795.

* * * * * * * * * *

On the Quarter Horse side, Isaias Cardenas was Albuquerque Downs’ leading jockey with 30 wins from 172, two more than J. Martin Bourdieu, who won 26 races from 132 Quarter Horse mounts. Agustin Silva topped all Quarter Horse riders in purse earnings with $458,538 from just 41 mounts.

Jesus Carrete topped all Albuquerque Downs Quarter Horse trainers with 30 wins from 76 starters, 16 more than runner-up Ernest Fennell, who prepped the winners of 14 races from 32 starters. The winner of the $252,515 La Fiesta Futurity on closing day with Strykr Force, Carrete also topped the track’s trainers in purse earnings at $502,939.

Jesus M. Estrada was Albuquerque Downs’ leading Quarter Horse owner with 10 wins from 19 starters, two more than Carrete, who won eight races from 17 of his own starters. Carrete, who is also the owner of Strykr Force, topped all Albuquerque Quarter Horse owners in purse earnings at $212,238.

* * * * * * * * * *

The many outstanding equine performances at Albuquerque Downs, which paid a track-record $1.5 million in purses during its closing weekend (September 23-24), were topped by reigning American Quarter Horse Association world champion Jessies First Down. A homebred 6-year-old gelding trained by Jimmy Padgett for owner Ted G. Abrams of Houston, Jessies First Down won the September 24, $250,000 Albuquerque Fall Quarter Horse Championship, which for the first time in its three-year history offered its winner a berth in the $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1) at Los Alamitos.

Albuquerque’s richest and most prestigious stakes for Thoroughbreds, the 1 1/8-mile, $200,000 Downs at Albuquerque Handicap on August 5, was won by Richard Keith’s American Dubai. Rodney Richards trained the 4-year-old Virginia-bred colt.

* * * * * * * * * *
Live horse racing will resume at Albuquerque Downs on June 29, 2018. The scheduled 55-day season will run through September 23.

Santa Anita in 2017 Reports Handle, Attendance Gains

Is Horse Racing Dead?

Santa Anita Park’s all-sources handle for its 103-day racing season, which began Dec. 26 and concluded July 4, showed a $23.5 million increase over last season, a 2.5% gain, according to track officials.

Source: Santa Anita Reports Handle, Attendance Gains