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…

Winter Meet at Santa Anita Park to See Purse Increases

Santa Anita apron

copyright AGameofSkill.com

With its traditional Winter Meet opener fast approaching on Wednesday, Dec. 26, Santa Anita Park has announced substantial purse increases for all of its overnight races, with some categories getting as much as an 11 percent boost when compared to purse levels at the track’s recently concluded Autumn Meet.

Santa Anita’s Winter Meet Condition Book One will be available to horsemen at santaanita.com on Tuesday, with hard copies available in the Racing Office this Wednesday, Dec. 5.

In addition to higher purses, horsemen will also find increased benefits for those running in races with purse levels of $30,000 or lower, as purse distribution in those races has been adjusted to better compensate horses that finish fourth and fifth. Percentage of purse distribution in those races, from first through fifth, will now be 55, 20, 12, 8 and 5.

“The overall increase in purse money is due to increased handle over the last year,” said P.J. Campo, Vice President, Racing for The Stronach Group. “We’ve adjusted the purses for the mid-level races in order to try to increase participation and field size, which drives handle. With these and other changes in place, we’re looking forward to a great Winter Meet starting the day after Christmas.”

Other changes, designed to increase field size, come in the first condition allowance category. Instead of being restricted to horses who are non-winners of $10,000 other than maiden, claiming or starter, horses will now be eligible if they’ve won $15,000 “other than.”

This adjustment has been made to entice more European and out of state horses to participate. Additionally, for the first time ever, horses that win first condition allowance races at Golden Gate Fields will now be exempted and be eligible to run again at the same non-winner’s level at Santa Anita, which will hopefully serve as an incentive to Bay Area horsemen to ship south for substantially more money.

For additional information regarding Santa Anita’s 2018-19 Winter Meet, please visit santaanita.com, or contact Santa Anita Racing Director Dan Eidson at (626) 574-6352.

Source: Press Release

Tampa Bay Owners Club contest a success

Tampa Paddock

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

Judging by the response to Saturday’s inaugural “Tampa Bay Owners Club” contest, area horse racing fans are eager to discover as much information as possible about the joys and challenges of Thoroughbred ownership.

About 1,000 entries were submitted before today’s seventh race, with 90 fans correctly selecting the winner, 16-1 shot War Bridle, a 2-year-old Kentucky-bred colt.

That group now comprises the fantasy-based “Tampa Bay Owners Club” syndicate, with perks including free admission, a program, a mutuel voucher and concession-stand discounts each time War Bridle returns to action this season at Tampa Bay Downs.

The winners will also receive an attractive pin identifying them as club members. They are invited to visit the paddock each time War Bridle competes at Tampa Bay Downs and to join future winner’s-circle celebrations.

“We are delighted by the response from our fans, many of whom have expressed interest previously in learning about Thoroughbred ownership,” said Margo Flynn, the track’s Vice President of Marketing & Publicity. “We hope this will inspire them to look further into owning a racehorse for real as they learn more about the potential rewards of becoming involved.”

The winners landed on an exciting prospect in War Bridle, who won by seven-and-a-quarter lengths in good time of 1:11.28 for the 6-furlong distance. In his previous race in June, War Bridle set a track record (since lowered) for four-and-a-half furlongs at Belterra Park in Cincinnati in a maiden victory.

War Bridle is trained by Joan Scott and was ridden by Jesus Castanon. He is owned by the Backstretch Farms, Inc., enterprise of Ocala attorney David Davila and his family members, who purchased War Bridle for $27,000 at the July Selected Horses of Racing Age Sale in Lexington, Ky.

Davila and his family entered Thoroughbred ownership about nine months ago and currently own 15 horses, mostly yearlings and weanlings, so the members of the “Tampa Bay Owners Club” appear to have good examples to learn from as they start on their journey.

Source: Press Release

Belinda Stronach Hires for New Entertainment Division

Belinda Stronach, Chairman & President of The Stronach Group, has tapped entertainment and hospitality vet Jimmy Vargas to lead the company’s newly created entertainment division. As part of The Stronach Group’s mission to modernize the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing by exciting and energizing the next generation of fans, Vargas will curate unique and engaging experiences across all of The Stronach Group facilities. From concerts and festivals to digital innovations, the focus on entertainment and guest experience is a key driver to The Stronach Group’s business.

Since joining The Stronach Group in the spring of 2018, Vargas has produced the InfieldFest featuring Post Malone, Odesza, 21 Savage and Frank Walker at the legendary Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as the inaugural Clubhouse Festival featuring Steve Aoki & Tyga at the 33rd Jim McKay Maryland Million at Laurel Park Racetrack. Vargas’ current focus is on delivering an incredible entertainment experience at the 3rd annual Pegasus World Cup Invitational taking place on January 26th at Gulfstream Park, The Stronach Group’s facility located just north of Miami.

Pegasus statue at Gulfstream Park“I’m excited to join The Stronach Group and help lead the evolution of its entertainment program, across all of its properties, and deliver world-class entertainment experiences with marquee talent,” said Jimmy Vargas, Executive Vice President, Entertainment. “We want to leverage the passion and energy of our horse racing fan base with the next generation of fans, having them all experience a new level of entertainment from the moment they enter our venues.”

Jimmy Vargas is one of the entertainment industry’s top talents, with 20 years of experience in the experiential, communications, broadcast, digital and marketing arenas. Prior to joining The Stronach Group, Vargas was Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Miami, FL-based powerhouse MMG Entertainment & Hospitality, where he was the driving force behind some of the most successful and world-renowned brands; LIV at the Fontainebleau, LIV at Hard Rock Stadium, Story, Komodo, Komodo Lounge and OTL. In this role, Vargas oversaw all entertainment marketing initiatives for the venues, including: event and talent booking, promotions, content creation, sales, production and brand partnerships. Working beside the company’s CEO since its inception, Vargas was responsible for growing the company from one venue in year one at $18M in gross revenue, to a complete and diversified hospitality portfolio of six venues with gross revenues exceeding $85M annually.

Among the hundreds of special events Vargas oversaw from conception to completion were the annual Fontainebleau Miami New Year’s Eve events featuring A-list talents including; Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Drake and The Weeknd. Vargas also collaborated on national broadcast partnerships for events such as the BET Hip Hop Awards, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show for CBS Broadcast and LIV pop-up series at major EDM Festivals including TomorrowWorld, Electric Zoo and Sunset Music Festival. Upon execution of the AXE Lounge Partnership for Super Bowl XLIV with Jennifer Lopez, Vargas was invited to recreate the event the following year for the Super Bowl in Dallas.

Prior to MMG, Vargas was a Partner in Gorillas Lifestyle Marketing (overseeing strategic experiential marketing efforts for MOCA, Lexus, Pepsi and Microsoft); Creative Marketing Director for the Opium Group Nightlife & Hospitality (one of South Florida’s most successful hospitality groups); and helped to launch Gen Art Miami (the nation’s leading arts and entertainment organization in support of emerging talent in fashion, film, music and the visual arts).

Vargas holds a dual degree in Telecommunications and Marketing from the University of Florida. He lives in Miami, Florida with his wife and two sons.

Source: Press Release

Horse Racing Roulette? It’s Now a Reality

HORSE RACING ROULETTE COMES TO SANTA ANITA ON OPENING DAY, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26 AS THE GREAT RACE PLACE CONTINUES TO COURT NEW PLAYERS

RouletteARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 11, 2018)—Long popular in Las Vegas and casinos around the world, Roulette will take on a new form beginning with Santa Anita’s Winter Meet opening day, Wednesday, Dec. 26, as Horse Racing Roulette will debut as a win-only wager available in all 10 opening day races which have fields of six or more horses.

As Santa Anita continues in its efforts to attract new fans, Horse Racing Roulette, which will include horses marked in the track’s racing program as red, black or green, will consist of a stand-alone Win pool and payoffs will be made according to the “color” of the winner and standard pari-mutuel calculations.

Following are the basic components and rules comprising Horse Racing Roulette at Santa Anita:

–Two dollar minimum win wager with customary industry-low 15.43 percent takeout

–Horses (minimum six-horse field) will be placed into one of three groups, Red, Black or Green.

–In most cases, the morning line favorite will be part of the Red Group.

–The Green Group will be comprised mainly of longshots.

–The three Groups, in most cases, will not have an equal number of horses.

–Whichever Group contains the race winner, wins that “game” of Horse Racing Roulette.

–In the event that ALL betting interest members of any group are scratched or declared non-starters, betting on the Group Bet pool will be stopped immediately and all Roulette wagers made on this particular race will be refunded.

–In the event of a dead heat for first between two or more divergent Group members, the Group Bet pool will be distributed as a profit split (place pool) or, if there is a triple dead heat with as many Group interests, the pool will also be distributed as a profit split (show pool).

TWO DOLLAR MINIMUM WAGER TO HAVE SAME INDUSTRY-LOW 15.43 PERCENT TAKEOUT AS STANDARD TWO DOLLAR WIN BET

Horse Racing Roulette will be offered on all races with a minimum of six runners throughout Santa Anita’s upcoming Winter Meet. Fans are encouraged to carefully consult their racing program prior to wagering.

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Reports Gains

Del mar chantal billboardFollowing on the heels of a stellar summer season, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., completed its fifth fall meet Sunday, highlighted by gains in total handle and four weeks of safe racing. All sources wagering for the 16-day session totaled $165,289,183, compared to the 2017 total handle of $154,069,710, an increase of 7.3 percent.

“The fall meet has found its niche and that’s important for the overall health of the California racing calendar,” said DMTC CEO Joe Harper. “All in all, we are pleased with the results and when you combine them with the summer and our continued efforts to provide the safest possible environment for our horses and riders, it was a terrific year.”

Del Mar’s 2018 fall racing festival had several standout performances, including a smart victory in the Grade I Hollywood Derby by Peter Brant’s Raging Bull on closing Saturday, then an equally impressive triumph by Uni – owned by Michael Dubb, Robert LaPenta, Head of Plains partners and Bethlehem Stable – the next day in the Grade I Matriarch. Both of those Eastern-based horses are trained by the country’s top conditioner, Chad Brown, and both were ridden by former three-time Del Mar riding champion Joel Rosario.

Trainer Peter Miller continued his hot run at Del Mar by winning his fourth fall conditioning crown with 15 victories, while jockey Drayden Van Dyke captured his first fall title with 17 wins. The pair had swept the 2018 summer honors previously with 31 scores for Miller and 42 for Van Dyke during the 36-day stand.

Del Mar will resume racing on Wednesday, July 17 for its showcase summer season, the 80th in its long and popular seaside run.

Source: Del Mar

Manitoba Province Working on Three-Year Plan For Horse Racing Industry

“The government’s support is very important, adds Mason. “It’s not a grant that we get from the province, but we get a portion of what is bet at Assiniboia Downs. So it’s actually coming from horse racing in the province,” as roughly $336,000 came in to the organization. The funds go towards operations, town expenses, and hiring workers, etc…”

 

Manitoba Province Announces Three-Year Plan For Horse Racing Industry DiscoverWestman.com: Province Announces Three-Year Plan For Horse Racing Industry

Oaklawn Racing and Gaming Announce Big Expansion

OAKLAWN ANNOUNCES $100 MILLION-PLUS EXPANSION WITH CONSTRUCTION OF HIGH-RISE HOTEL, EVENT CENTER AND EXPANDED GAMING AREA

Oaklawn Racing and Gaming today announced plans to build an expansion project in excess of $100 million that includes the construction of a high-rise hotel, multi-purpose event center, a larger gaming area, and additional on-site parking.

The project is one of the largest hospitality investments in the history of Arkansas.

“This historic announcement represents a new chapter in the rich 114-year history of Oaklawn,” said Louis Cella, president of Oaklawn Jockey Club. “As we enhance the entertainment experience for our customers, we will also further elevate thoroughbred racing and help make Arkansas and Hot Springs even stronger regional tourism destinations.”

The yet-to-be-named hotel will be seven stories with 200 rooms, including two presidential suites. Amenities will include an outdoor swimming pool, a luxury spa, fitness center and restaurant.

“The hotel will offer a unique vantage point for our patrons in that it will overlook the track. Imagine the spectacular view as the horses are heading down the stretch,” said Cella. “Our goal is to achieve 4-star status.”

Adjacent to the hotel will be a 14,000 square-foot multi-purpose events center that will accommodate up to 1,500 people for various events such as concerts, meetings, banquets and weddings.

The project also includes the addition of approximately 28,000 square feet of gaming space and significantly expanded parking.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said the Oaklawn expansion will be monumental.

“The state of Arkansas is grateful to Louis and his family for their commitment to growing their business right here at home,” said Gov. Hutchinson. “This project, which will be financed exclusively with private funds, not only represents one of, if not the largest, tourism related expansion projects in our history, it will also rank among the state’s largest economic development projects in 2019.”

Kane Webb, director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, says the Oaklawn expansion will create more success stories for Arkansas’ thriving tourism industry.

“Hot Springs is already one of the top tourism destinations in the South,” said Webb. “This expansion will thrust Hot Springs into the category of the nation’s elite vacation and recreation locations.”

Oaklawn Park new designCella says the development will create new partnership opportunities with the city of Hot Springs in that marketing efforts will be designed to complement those of the city’s. He says while various on-site amenities will be offered, Oaklawn will want guests to enjoy all that Hot Springs has to offer including Hot Springs National Park, lakes, hiking and biking trails, museums, restaurants, shopping and more.

Steve Arrison, CEO of the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission, says the events center and hotel rooms will be beneficial to Hot Springs and Arkansas.

“Oaklawn’s project will allow Hot Springs to attract more and larger meetings and conventions,” said Arrison. “This creates exciting opportunities for Hot Springs tourism.”

An expansion project of this magnitude, Cella says, requires years of planning and the development of infrastructure.

“While one may assume that today’s announcement comes in response to the passage of Issue 4 on November 6, we actually began planning for this during our last expansion in 2014,” said Cella. “Our goal then, as it is now, is to use a quality gaming experience to enhance racing and help attract even more great champions to Arkansas such as Smarty Jones, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah.”

Construction on the project will begin in May immediately following completion of the 2019 racing season. The target completion date for the gaming expansion is January 2020 with the hotel and event center to be completed in late 2020.

As it has for two previous Oaklawn projects, HBG Design of Memphis is the architectural firm for this new expansion.

Flintco Construction, with an Arkansas headquarters located in Springdale, is the contractor on the project. The company estimates that as many as 2,300 jobs will be created during the construction phase.

“The Cellas helped found Oaklawn in the early 1900’s,” said Wayne Smith, general manager of Oaklawn. “As they have for more than a century, the family continues to make significant investments in Arkansas. This will be the third major project at Oaklawn since 2008.”

This major expansion represents the second significant announcement at Oaklawn since Louis Cella succeeded his late father, Charles, as president of Oaklawn Jockey Club last December.

In April of this year, Oaklawn announced it will shift its racing season later in the calendar and for the first time will continue racing into May. It’s the biggest change in the traditional Oaklawn racing schedule since World War II.

Oaklawn Park Expansion Project Fact Sheet

About the project:
Oaklawn is investing in excess of $100 million to further elevate thoroughbred racing and make Oaklawn and Hot Springs an even stronger regional tourism destination.
The Oaklawn expansion will be one of the largest hospitality investments in the history of Arkansas.
This is a private investment. No public dollars are being used.
The project will focus on five main areas:
Enhanced racing experience
4-star hotel and spa
Multi-purpose event center
Expanded gaming area
Additional on-site parking
This expansion project has been in the planning stages since 2014.
This will be Oaklawn’s third major construction project since 2008.
About the hotel/multi-purpose event center:
The hotel will be 7 stories tall with 200 luxury rooms, including two presidential suites.
The goal is for the hotel to achieve 4-star status.
The hotel will offer patrons a unique vantage point in that it will overlook the racetrack on one side with a beautiful view of the lakes and mountains on the other.
Room rates will be competitive with other properties of this quality.

The Oaklawn Park hotel will include:
outdoor swimming pool
luxury spa
fitness center
restaurant
multi-purpose event center
individual meeting rooms
The 14,000 square-foot multi-purpose event center will accommodate up to 1,500 people for events ranging from concerts, to meetings, to banquets, to weddings.
Oaklawn is working with the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission to ensure that the multi-purpose event center compliments efforts of the Hot Springs convention center and arena. The partnership will help attract more and larger meetings and conventions to the city.
The project includes expanded on-site parking to accommodate more vehicles.
A shuttle service will be available to transport patrons from their vehicles to the facility. Shuttle stops will be strategically located throughout the parking areas.

About the Oaklawn Park gaming expansion:
The new expansion will add approximately 28,000 square-feet of gaming space.
The enhanced gaming experience will allow Oaklawn to provide larger purses to help attract the top thoroughbreds joining a long line of champions such as Smarty Jones, Zenyatta and American Pharoah.

About the construction:
HBG Design of Memphis is the architectural firm on the project. This will represent the firm’s third expansion design for Oaklawn.
Flintco Construction, with Arkansas headquarters located in Springdale, is the contractor on the project. Flintco has managed major construction projects all over Arkansas.
Construction will begin in May, immediately following the completion of the 2019 racing season.

Target completion dates:
Gaming expansion – January 2020
Hotel and multi-purpose event center – Late 2020

About economic impact:
Oaklawn’s reputation as a year-round tourism destination will be enhanced. Hotel guests will have easy access to Hot Springs National Park, area lakes, hiking and biking trails, museums, amusement parks, and restaurants representing a significant economic impact to the city of Hot Springs and the state of Arkansas.
Flintco estimates that as many as 2,300 construction jobs will be created during the construction phase.
Though a specific number is still under consideration, Oaklawn anticipates several hundred additional jobs will be created in expanded areas.

About the Oaklawn principals:
Louis Cella, president of Oaklawn Jockey Club, succeeded his late father, Charles, in December 2017. The Cella family were among the founding partners in Oaklawn in the early 1900s. Louis is a graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law, past Chairman of the Arkansas Cancer Research Center Foundation, Director of the UAMS Foundation Fund Board and Director of the Myeloma Institute. Louis’ wife, Rochelle Dean, is from England, Arkansas.
Wayne Smith, general manager of Oaklawn, joined the racetrack in 2016 with extensive experience in working with resort properties around the world for ITT-Sheraton, MGM Grand and Caesar’s Entertainment. He also worked for Empire City Racing and Gaming in New York and Penn Gaming in Illinois.

Source: Oaklawn Park

Horse racing has gone off track in the age of technology?

Racing needs a better presentation, TVHorse racing has gone off track in the age of technology

“As a youngster growing up in New York, I noticed one beautiful part of horse racing was that it brought people together. People that were at each others’ throats on the mean streets of Queens might be seen sharing a racing form and laughing together under the tote board at Aqueduct. And, when the ninth race was completed, so was all the action for that day. The fact there was only one track in people’s itinerary only cemented the bonds. People were loyal and true to the one track in their lives…”

St. George Daily Spectrum Full coverage: Horse racing has gone off track in the age of technology

What do you think?  Put your comments about this important topic below.