Horseracing Integrity Act Re-introduced

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) on Thursday reintroduced the Horseracing Integrity Act (H.R. 1754), which establishes an authority to create and implement a national uniform medication program with input from the horse industry.

“As the Representative for the Horse Capital of the World, I have the distinct honor of fighting for the future of this great American sport,” said Congressman Barr in a release. “I continue to believe the prosperity of Kentucky’s signature horseracing industry depends on national uniform medication standards and testing procedures. I am proud to reintroduce this legislation with my friend and colleague, Congressman Tonko, and I look forward to building upon the great bipartisan work we secured last Congress, including more than 100 cosponsors, to ensure the safety and integrity of this sport is preserved for years to come.”

Under existing law, the American horseracing industry labors under a diverse patchwork of conflicting and inconsistent rules governing medication policies and practices across dozens of different racing jurisdictions. According to the release, the lack of uniformity in the rules of horseracing has impaired interstate commerce and undermined the public confidence in the sport.

Here’s One Look at Free Horse Racing Data

by Rich Nilsen

In the fall of 1992 I graduated from the University of Louisville Equine Industry Program, and the following summer, the director of the program, Dr. Bob Lawrence, got me connected to Dick Broadbent, owner of Bloodstock Research Information Service, Inc.   Mr. Broadbent hired me and I soon became their Marketing Director.  Over the years this job expanded into head marketing duties for their ADWs, BrisBET.com and TsnBet.com, as well as their sister data company, Thoroughbred Sports Network (TSN).  [TSN utilized Equibase data, whereas Brisnet utilized Daily Racing Form data].

Shortly after he partnered with Beulah Park in Ohio and created the ADW BrisBET, Dick Broadbent had the genius idea of giving away complimentary past performances to customers who wagered through his new betting site.   I wish I could say it was my idea, but it wasn’t.  The concept was simple.  All the customer had to do was place a $2 bet on a given track and he or she could download the Brisnet Past Performances for free.  It was viewed as a loss leader, as BrisBET would still pay the appropriate royalty to Equibase for any and all past performances accessed.

At this time we were kicking the DRF’s butt, as we had the Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances, a product that was far superior to the original ‘Racing Form.’  Wagering sites like DrfBets.com were over a decade away from existence, and BrisBET was becoming well known and growing rapidly each year.  Wager with BrisBET and get your data for free — the data you were originally paying for.  A majority of the Brisnet data customers who resided in eligible states switched over to BrisBET for their wagering, and tons of new customers came flooding in the door…every day.

We didn’t have the astronomical marketing budget of major competitor YouBet, but we had free past performances and that carried a lot of weight.  We also had a rock-solid wagering platform, and we executed other ideas well, such as the AmericaTAB Players Pool and the Brisnet NHC online qualifiers, the first of its kind on the “world wide web.”

BrisBET continued to grow like a hot tech stock, and consequently, the company (along with its partner companies) were purchased by Churchill Downs in June of 2007 for over $80 million.  BrisBET, TsnBET, and WinTicket (the Ohio racetracks’ ADW) became the foundation for Twinspires.com, and the rest is history.

This past week Pat Cummings, Craig Bernick and the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation (TIF) put out a white paper to the industry in hopes of changing the market place by encouraging industry stakeholders to give away data in the expectation that it would lead to growth in the sport.  It was entitled “Embracing a Future with Free Racing Data.”  This is an idea that has been batted around for years but never really put down on paper and presented to the whole sport.

OTHER SPORTS DATA

Needless to say, there is a ton of free information available for other American past times such as baseball and football.  For example, within minutes I was able to pull up the complete minor league stats from the 1950s for my father’s best friend and sandlot teammate, Bob Lennon.  Born in 1928 Bob hit 64 home runs in one season in Nashville Double A, a record feat that earned him a plaque in Cooperstown, NY.   His detailed minor league and major league statistics, including fielding stats, as well as those of thousands upon thousands of obscure players are easily accessible at baseball-reference.com.

Original ledger from the 1944 Mill Basin Athletics, Brooklyn Sandlot champs

Playing fantasy football?  The plethora of free data available is also impressive.  With the growth of sports betting, the need to provide even more free data will be a necessity for companies with skin in the game.

TIF CALL TO EQUIBASE/TRACKS

According to the TIF paper: “Equibase–as a going interest of the racetracks and The Jockey Club–should eschew their interests to profit from data sales, absorbing the costs of data collection and distribution in favor of the wagering participation and the trickle-down industry benefits this would yield. In other words, the collection and distribution of racing data should be considered a marketing expense, used to attract and retain gamblers…. Equibase’s success should not be measured in terms of data sales, but in the performance of racing’s wagering markets.”

The bottom line and the reality is that Equibase, DRF, and BRIS are all in the business of selling data.  That’s their bread and butter. Unlike Twinspires.com, Equibase does not get a cut of the wagering handle.  They sell advertising and they sell data.  Equibase and their track partners earn a cut of every sale.

However, it is reasonable to consider a method to give away a fraction of that data without hurting their overall sales.  And if done properly, the ‘giveaway’ could grow overall sales and increase wagering within the sport.  That’s a win-win and what we all want to see happen.

A SAMPLE FREE PP

In an attempt to do just that and provide a visual of what could be done, I mocked up a stripped-down past performance product utilizing basic Brisnet data.

 

sample City of Light free pps

 

For those wondering, the following bits of data were altered or removed from the traditional Premium Plus Brisnet PPs:

5 past performance lines remain (5 removed)

6 workouts remain from the traditional 12 workouts

3 trainer categories remain (3 removed)

BRIS Race Shapes (too complicated for the novice)

BRIS Speed/Pace Pars removed

 

Of course, Equibase and the Daily Racing Form could give away their comparable version of the stripped-down, basic past performances. There are, no doubt, other ways to present free data and an online resource comparable to baseball-reference.com would make sense.

A few key items were removed from the PPs presented above, but in my opinion, this is a very good past performance product for a giveaway.  If a beginner player starts using this product, eventually they will gravitate towards a better product such as DRF Formulator, TimeformUS or the BRIS Ultimate Past Performances.   And that will cost them money.

 

Note: The opinions in this article are strictly those of the author and do not represent or speak for any company within the horse racing industry.

Related Articles:

Will Industry Answer Renewed Call for Free Betting Data

What Sports Betting Data Can Cost for a Commercial Business

TDN Article about Free Horse Racing Data

Wow! North Carolina mulls pari-mutuel horse racing wagering bill

The bill calls for North Carolina to establish a Lottery Commission to oversee regulation of the market, as well as handle the accompanying licencing process…

The bill also sets out how 20% of all money wagered at each location would be remitted to the Commission by the licensed organisation. All winnings would be subject to standard state income tax rates.

Consumers over the age of 18 would be able to take part in pari-mutuel wagering under the regulations, but anyone associated with the new Commission would not be permitted to place bets.

Should the bill progress into law, it would come into effect from January 1, 2020.

Horse Deaths at Santa Anita Spell Trouble for the Horse Racing Industry

NY Times coverage:

As the Triple Crown season approaches, the talk should be about contenders for the Kentucky Derby. Instead, dead horses and canceled races are hot topics after Santa Anita Park suspended thoroughbred racing because of a spike in fatalities that has cast doubt on the safety of its racing surface.

A filly named Lets Light the Way was euthanized on Tuesday after shattering a sesamoid bone at the ankle joint. It was the 21st horse fatality in racing or training at Santa Anita since Dec. 26. That is more than the 20 deaths that occurred over 122 racing days in 2017, according to Jockey Club data.

“The safety, health and welfare of the horses and jockeys is our top priority,” Tim Ritvo, the chief operating officer of the Stronach Group, which owns the track, said in a statement. “While we are confident further testing will confirm the soundness of the track, the decision to close is the right thing to do at this time.”

It was the second time in eight days that the historic track below the San Gabriel Mountains a few miles east of Pasadena, Calif., was shut down. The closure has forced the postponement on Saturday of the track’s signature race, the Santa Anita Handicap, which was won by the storied horse Seabiscuit in 1940, and the San Felipe Handicap, a major prep race for 3-year-olds trying to qualify for the Kentucky Derby…

The track was closed on Feb. 26 and 27 after the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner, Battle of Midway, was fatally injured during a workout. A track safety expert from the University of Kentucky, Mick Peterson, was brought in to search for possible irregularities that might explain the spike in fatalities.

He didn’t find any. Shortly after the course was reopened, however, the filly Eskenforadrink became the 20th fatality, breaking down during a race and later being euthanized…

Santa Anita Was Reaccredited by Safety & Integrity Alliance this past May

Santa Anita Reaccredited by NTRA Safety & Integrity AllianceEditor’s Note: It’s a good thing that Santa Anita received the seal of approval from the racing industry last May (sic) by being re-accredited by the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance.

Since a sickening report on the NBC Nightly News after the 19th breakdown and death of a racehorse at beautiful Santa Anita racecourse, two more horses have died in less than one week.  That brings the total to 21 deaths since the track re-opened this past winter.  This is not only heartbreaking to every racing fan but totally unacceptable.

Just in the past elections in Florida, the popular vote chose to shut down greyhound racing, a staple in the Sunshine State for many decades.  Within minutes of this news, there were comments all over social media that “horse racing needs to be next.”

In the liberal state of California, it won’t be long before a huge push is made to do just that to horse racing in the Golden State.  All the stake holders involved need to stop looking at the short term picture and shut this track down until we can figure out what in the world is going on.  Can we really blame recent rainy weather?  Is there a trend with certain types of horses involved?  Certain barns?  Layoffs?  It’s complicated, but we need to look beyond just the surface (no pun intended).

The Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships is scheduled for “The Great Race Place” this fall, and we can’t just hope that this problem goes away.

May 2018 Press Release:

Santa Anita Reaccredited by NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance

“The reaccreditation of Santa Anita was the culmination of a lengthy process that began with the track’s completion of an extensive written application and continued as the track hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. An on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing operations. Interviews were conducted with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, veterinarians, stewards and regulators.

The inspection team was comprised of Dr. Ron Jensen, DVM (veterinary and regulatory consultant), former equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board; Mike Kilpack (security and integrity consultant), past chairman of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators; Steve Koch, executive director of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance; and Cathy O’Meara (racing operations consultant), coordinator of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program.

Alliance certification standards address an extensive list of safety and integrity concerns within six broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; uniform medication and testing; jockey health and welfare; and wagering security.

“Santa Anita is always proud to stand at the forefront of racetrack safety and integrity,” said Rick Hammerle, the track’s vice president of racing and racing secretary. “Every decision here is made with the safety of our human and equine athletes in mind.”

Santa Anita has been continuously accredited since 2009, the Alliance’s inaugural year. All accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years…”

Incredible, Short-sighted Kentucky Tax Change Hurts the Average Player

“On April 14, 2018, the Kentucky General Assembly passed a sweeping tax reform bill (HB 487) that officially became law on April 27, 2018. In addition to many other changes, HB 487 created a new section of Chapter 141 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes—KRS 141.019,” Coffman wrote in an email to BloodHorse. “Effective for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2018, KRS 141.019(2)(c) specifically prohibits individuals from including any deduction allowed for losses under Internal Revenue Code section 165 when calculating their net income for Kentucky tax purposes.

The state government’s Ky.gov website on changes to Kentucky tax law for 2018 also is seemingly straightforward. Under a question-and-answer section of the site where it’s asked, “Am I allowed to claim gambling losses as an itemized deduction?” the answer reads, “No. Kentucky no longer allows gambling losses to the extent of gambling winnings for tax year 2018 and thereafter. If you are reporting gambling income you received from another state, you may be allowed to credit for tax paid to another state.”

Tennessee Bill Aims to Resurrect Horse Racing Commission

Is Horse Racing Dead in TN?  Maybe Not Forever

Tennessee has a rich equine history, but the legislature banned horse race gambling in 1905.

According to The Tennessean, in 1987 lawmakers approved the Racing Control Act, which legalized pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing and created the Tennessee State Racing Commission to oversee tracks. Several venues were proposed, but they either couldn’t survive local referendums or got knocked down in the courts by litigation, and none were built.

Without any tracks to license or regulate, the racing commission–which consisted of just one individual for a number of years–was disbanded in 1998. In 2015 lawmakers repealed the Racing Control Act. In 2016 they launched an advisory committee to try and bring a version of it back.

Horse racing in Tennessee currently consists of the non-profit Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville, which runs a well-attended, one-day, non-betting meet at Percy Warner Park each May. Farther beneath the radar, non-sanctioned Quarter Horse match races exist at Carril de Memphis, an “outlaw” track west of Memphis that openly advertises its schedule of race dates on Facebook.

The money flowing across state lines to gambling venues in bordering Mississippi and Arkansas was cited as an impetus to resurrect horse racing in Tennessee.

“What I’m trying to do is reactivate the horse racing commission …

Learn About Horseplayer Marshall Gramm

How Technology Reshapes the Horse Racing Industry

Innovation in Betting

As long as there are horse races, there will be eager punters who are keen to back their favourite horses and jockeys. Horse racing wagering is another area of the industry that has significantly changed and improved with modern technology. These days, instead of having to trek to a bookie’s office, punters can place bets at home or on the go thanks to platforms and apps from international online sports betting operators. The advent of mobile technology means that they can get up-to-the-minute racing news, and major events like the Breeders’ Cup are even beginning to broadcast in virtual reality across the globe so that fans will never miss a meeting.

Future Innovations

It may all sound high tech already, but we could see a whole new wave of innovations incorporated into the sport in the coming years. For starters, a team of Australian scientists successfully shod a racehorse with the first ever pair of 3D printed shoes made from titanium. However, it may take some time before this becomes a widespread thing since a horse’s hooves can change every hour and printing one shoe takes several.

Scientists are even becoming involved in the breeding process since it’s well-known within the sport that a mature colt or filly often outperforms those born later in a year within the same age bracket. To that end, Equilume recently designed a mask that will trigger early breeding times in mares, using a blue light to affect their ….

Multi-Purpose Center at Belmont Park Coming Along

CHAPLAINCY MAKING PROGRESS WITH FUND-RAISING EFFORT FOR MULTI-PURPOSE CENTER AT BELMONT PARK

The New York Race Track Chaplaincy of America (NYRTCA) announced today that it has passed the halfway mark in its ongoing effort to raise funds necessary to build a multi-purpose building and chapel on the grounds of Belmont Park in Elmont, NY.

The 5,000-square foot facility will cost approximately $800,000 to build, according to Humberto Chavez, the chaplain in New York.

Personal donations of $100,000 have been made by Lisa and Kenny Troutt of WinStar Farm, Kristine and Chris Kay, New York Racing Association (NYRA) CEO & President and Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson.

Horse owner Michael Dubb, who donated the two trailers where the Chaplaincy is currently housed, has pledged his donation in building materials for the entire facility.

Chavez said that ground-breaking ceremonies for the Chaplaincy Center are tentatively scheduled for the Spring of 2019 with a completion date targeted for the Fall of 2019.

“To have a facility like this has been a dream of mine for the past 15 years,” he said. “Thanks to those who have already made commitments and to those who will be doing so, the backstretch community will now have a place where people can relax, unwind, worship and learn new skills.”

The New York chaplaincy was created in 1986. It ministers to the needs of backstretch community at the NYRA racetracks (Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course) through a wide variety of programs. They include enrichment programs for children, social service programs, recreational programs, educational opportunities and non-denominational religious services.

“Our services have continued to grow through the years and we’ve just outgrown the two trailers we’ve been using as our headquarters,” Chavez said.
Chavez, who was named chaplain in 2003, said he shared his dream with Chris Kay shortly after the 2018 Belmont Stakes. “We discussed how much the backstretch needed a building like this and he quickly said, ‘Let’s make it happen.’”

The new facility will include office space for the Chaplain and his staff, areas for recreation, non-denominational worship, and confidential counseling. There will also be a storage area for the food pantry, and a room to be known as the Cot Classroom, in honor of the late Cot Campbell, a Thoroughbred owner and longtime NYRTCA supporter who passed away in October 2018.

The classroom will be used as a learning center where backstretch workers can learn about financial literacy, computer skills, citizenship issues, social advocacy programs, and cultural learning opportunities.

“Kris and I greatly appreciate the important work of the NY Racetrack Chaplaincy, which provides impactful spiritual services and resources for the backstretch community,” said NYRA CEO & President Chris Kay. ““That is why my wife and I are so pleased to be able to make a personal contribution to support the construction of a new and permanent headquarters at Belmont Park that will properly reflect the central role the Chaplaincy plays in the lives of so many.”

Chavez said that fund-raising efforts are ongoing and that numerous sponsorship opportunities, up to and including the naming of the center, are available. Those interested in making a donation, taking a sponsorship, or further information can write to Nancy Kelly, Board President, at nankelly52@gmail.com or call (516) 287-3289 or visit this link.

The New York chaplaincy is supported by its major sponsors: NYRA, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, The Thoroughbred Charities of America, the Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation, and the New York Women’s Foundation, as well as by other foundations and numerous individuals.

Source: Press Release

Former Miss World Rosanna Davison Promotes Horse Racing

When questioned by some of her followers as to how she could promote a horse-racing event, Rosanna replied: “I don’t claim to follow a vegan lifestyle.”

Back in July 2016, Rosanna sent a letter to Dublin City Council in support of a motion being put forward to ban the wild-animal acts.

She wrote: “Animals are not ours to abuse for human amusement — and it’s simply unacceptable for astonishing animals like elephants, lions, and tigers to be deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them.”

The Irish beauty has also teamed up with animal rights organisation PETA several times — including a Vegans Are Red Hot ad, where she posed nude surrounded only by chilli peppers, and getting kitted out in a short dress made of lettuce leaves, left…