Miss Live Sports? Try Horse Racing

But, for now, horse racing essentially is sport’s only live show. It may not last much longer. There are downsides to having the spotlight alone. Running races while the rest of the sports world shuts down can irk the public and government officials.

Gulfstream Park continued racing even after jockey Javier Castellano tested positive for COVID-19 during a physical at the track Tuesday. It’s not clear where and when he contracted the disease. Castellano last rode at Gulfstream on March 15 but had since returned to New York to spend time with family, his agent told The Blood-Horse.

Earlier in the week, Broward County issued an executive order that closed businesses it considers nonessential. The Sun-Sentinel reported that a county attorney informed Gulfstream that racing isn’t an essential business. The track kept racing, citing the care of horses as justification.

Patrick Cummings, executive vice president of industry advocate Thoroughbred Idea Foundation, argues that racing thoroughbreds is part of that care.

“Keeping them racing and active is something that is going to happen whether or not we have a shutdown,” Cummings said.

Racing them for simulcast keeps the gambling cash flowing. Horse racing’s status as the only option might mean more of it. If not, then some cash flow is better than none for a struggling sport. The pandemic already has affected its showcase races.

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Wyoming

Wyoming’s horse racing industry has boosted economy

The Economic Impact Analysis by the Innovation Group “documents the rapid growth and financial impact of horse racing here in the Equality State. Overall the Wyoming Horse Racing Industry generates more than $62 million in annual output for the state’s economy with an annual employment impact of 454 jobs.”

The report states the horse racing industry “is a vital contributor to the Wyoming economy through its various operating activities – including the major racetracks, off-track betting and historical wagering facilities; and the activities of the horse breeders, trainers (including jockeys and grooms) and the horse owners; as well as industry-induced tourism.”

The report noted the horse racing industry contributed over $24 million to the cities and counties in which they operate since 2013.

And, in 2019 alone, those municipalities received $7,934,771.

The increase reflects the change of thought and operation created by the 2013 law, according to Joyce.

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Don’t Raid the Horse Racing Fund in Pennsylvania

Opinion Piece

“In his 2020 state budget, Governor Tom Wolf has proposed student debt forgiveness for our PA state system graduates when they agree to stay in PA for 6 years after graduation. This is a bold initiative and worthy of exploration. The second oldest state in the US needs these skilled, eager young people to stay, work, and make a life in PA. On the surface there is not much to object to; however, the Governor’s proposal would be paid for with $200 million from the PA State Horse Racing Development Fund.

This fund was created by Act 71 of 2004 and uses proceeds from slots to support breeding of top-level race horses, to further strengthen our agricultural economy. In this budget scenario, the issue of addressing PA student loan debt now quickly becomes swapping futures, those of hard-working families and business owners for the futures of our kids. The film Sophie’s Choice comes to mind.

I strongly reject the perception that the horse racing industry in our state is run exclusively by wealthy horse owners and that the only ones who benefit economically are owners. Many owners form partnerships in order to share costs, and the cost to breed, train and care for a race horse is steep. It’s also a well- documented fact that this industry supports our local, regional, and state economy.

The list of direct and downstream businesses includes breeders, owners, trainers, farms that lease space, the breeding and training facility owners and workers, mechanics, manure haulers and composters, small and large animal veterinarians, veterinary pharmaceuticals, grain and hay farmers, feed and supply businesses (a business my family was in for nearly 100 years), shipping and transport, hotel and restaurant, software and many more. At this point…”

PA Governor proposes using Funds from Horse Racing to help with college tuition

“Three years ago the governor signed a bill to create that trust fund that couldn’t be touched, and now three years later he’s coming back and taking $200 million out of 250 dollars. All those jobs would be lost, all these horses would have to be re-homed, the economy would be devastated.” ~ Kim Hankins, the executive director of Meadows Standard Bred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, Pa. — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is proposing to cut $204 million from the Race Horse Development Fund and moving it to help college students with tuition.

The governor says the money would support the Nellie Bly tuition program, which provides financial assistance to targeted full-time students who agree to stay in Pennsylvania for the same number of years for which they receive the benefit.

Governor Wolf tells Channel 11′s Cara Sapida that the legislature would need to approve the transfer of the tax dollars going to purse winnings for owners, trainers and jockeys, and redirect them to this scholarship program.

Pete Peterson, executive director of the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition, told Channel 11 that money in the Race Horse Development Trust Fund comes from an assessment paid by casinos on their gross terminal revenues from slot machine gaming. The legislature noted in the 2017 Race Horse Industry Reform Act that the money isn’t funds of the Commonwealth and that the “Commonwealth shall not be rightfully entitled to any money” in the RHDTF.

New Competition for Oaklawn Park in Arkansas?

Competition is coming for Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs.

Of course, it’s always faced competitors in the form of other thoroughbred racetracks and then, later, in the form of the electronic “games of skill” also offered by Southland Park (now Southland Casino Racing) in West Memphis, as well as the myriad other ways in which people spend money to entertain themselves.

But with the opening of the Saracen Annex in Pine Bluff, to be joined later this year by the full-fledged Saracen Casino Resort, Oaklawn faces head-to-head competition in its own backyard.

Gaming industry experts told our Mark Friedman that Arkansas’ gambling market probably wasn’t yet saturated. But the Saracen Annex, which opened for business in late September, already appears to be cutting into Oaklawn’s terminal and slot machine wagers, which fell 15.7% in the fourth quarter of 2019, compared with the same period in 2018.

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New Year is Breaking Records Already with The Richest Horse Race Ever

Is Horse Racing Dead?

We are only at the beginning of 2020 and it looks set to be a very exciting year if you are a fan of horse racing. There are already some amazing horse races around the globe but Saudi Arabia is set to become the biggest and best hotspot for the sport, as the richest horse race in the world is set to be held on February 29th in Riyadh.

Confirmed to have a prize pot of $20 million, the Saudi Cup is going to trump any other horse race that has been held in terms of prize money by several million. With prize money like this, you can be sure that this horse race is going to attract some of the biggest and best horses, trainers, and jockeys from all around the world.

With that in mind, continue reading to find out more about the race itself, as well as the horses that are rumored to be entering the mix at the moment.

What is the Saudi Cup?

The Saudi Cup is a nine-furlong race that is going to be run on the dirt track at King Abdulaziz Racetrack. There are going to be a maximum field of 14 starters for the race. There are a number of different opportunities for horses to qualify for the race. For example, the winner of the Pegasus Cup in Florida will be invited to run in the race, even if they have not entered it previously. Furthermore, there is going to be a race held on the 7th of February in Saudi Arabia for Arabian horses to earn the chance to qualify. The winner will secure a position in the world’s richest horse race.

More about the Saudi Cup:

New Racing Club at Canterbury Park in 2020

“Our mission is to engage new people with thoroughbred racehorse both active and retired…” ~ Joe Scurto

Lakeville, MN…. The first racetrack in North America to create a racing club for thoroughbred racing fans, Canterbury Park has now teamed up with the Minnesota Racehorse Engagement Project (MNREP) to introduce a new version of their successful club platform for 2020.

The new club will not only offer horse lovers the opportunity to experience the pleasure, prestige, and emotional rewards of owning a thoroughbred racehorse, it will also help horses coming off the track as they transition into new careers. All net profits from the club will be going to support local equine organizations that are working with MNREP and Canterbury Park in transitioning retired racehorses. These organizations currently include This Old Horse, University of Minnesota, Crookston Equine Science Program, and Acres of Life.

Joe Scurto, Executive Director MNREP is excited about the opportunity to have a club that will benefit both members as well as horses. “Our mission is to engage new people with thoroughbred racehorse both active and retired. The new club will be able to offer both. The organizations working with us to transition horses will also benefit. People joining will get more than their monies worth and support equine aftercare in the process.”

Horse Racing in New York. An Annual Financial Recap

Source: NYRA

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced that its 2019 race meets conducted at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course generated all-sources handle of $2,108,126,369.

For the first time in history, NYRA generated more than $700 million in all-sources handle during the 2019 meet at Saratoga Race Course, which was conducted over a five-day race week.

Wagering from all-sources at Saratoga totaled $705,343,949, a figure that eclipsed the previous record set in 2017 by nearly $29 million or 4.2 percent. The milestone record was achieved despite the cancellation of a full racing card on the second Saturday of the season due to extreme heat, in addition to the cancellation of the final seven races on July 25 due to severe storms.

Belmont Park crowd

copyright Agameofskill.com

Inclement weather forced the full cancellation of seven race days and partial cancellation of six cards during the year. As a result, there were 217 race days in 2019 at NYRA tracks with average daily handle of $9,714,868.

Total all sources handle in 2018 was $2,113,408,494 with average daily handle over the 219 days of live racing in 2018 of $9,650,267.

2019 featured 2,000 races at NYRA tracks, or 38 fewer than were contested in 2018. 125 races were taken off the turf in 2019 compared with 193 in 2018.

2019 Belmont Stakes

The June 8 Belmont Stakes Day card, highlighted by Sir Winston’s victory in the 151st running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, generated all-sources handle of $102,163,280, a NYRA record for a non-Triple Crown year.

All-sources handle for the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival was $131,858,886.

In total, the 48-day Belmont Park spring/summer meet generated all sources handle of $524,051,257 with on-track handle of $62,499,109. Average daily handle during the spring/summer meet was $10,917,735.

The 2019 Belmont Park fall meet generated all-sources handle of $274,929,718. Average daily handle over the 37 days of live racing was $7,430,533 with on-track handle totaling $32,523,572.

The 25-day 2019 fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack generated all-sources handle of $205,249,710, and on-track handle of $20,712,645. Average daily handle during the fall meet at the Big A was $8,209,988.

Total on-track handle across all NYRA meets in 2019 was $310,053,754, a 5.2 percent decrease from the 2018 total of $326,893,963.

Remington and Woodbine Report Solid Handle Figures

Woodbine All-Sources Handle Second-Largest in History

Woodbine Entertainment announced Dec. 18 that the 2019 Thoroughbred meet produced an all-sources handle of $516,189,880.80—the second-largest in its history and the third consecutive year the Ontario track exceeded half a billion dollars.

The 131-day (with two cancellations) meet included 1,212 races, 45 fewer than last year, which contributed to the all-sources handle being down 3.2% compared to 2018. Average field size per race was also a contributing factor; it was 8.2 in 2019 compared to 8.3 last year.

Remington Park

The 2019 Remington Park Thoroughbred season concluded Dec. 15 and again experienced increases in total pari-mutuel handle for the 67-date schedule, the track announced Dec. 19.

Total handle on Remington Park racing was $76,885,108, up 7.1% compared to 2018 when the Thoroughbred season generated $71,798,190. It marked the third consecutive season the Oklahoma track’s handle increased over the previous year.

Will Racing Return to Balmoral Park?

“It’s one of the most unique properties in Chicagoland, and it deserves to be put back into action,” Goldberg said. “Our plans include making it a premier sports and entertainment venue that Chicagoland and the south suburbs deserve.”

Goldberg’s group signed a contract to buy Balmoral for an undisclosed price from HITS Inc., the New York-based company that has hosted show horse productions at the track the last few years.

All the new owners need now is for state lawmakers to amend the Illinois’ massive gambling expansion law to allow for racing in Crete Township. But threading that legislative needle will be no small feat, as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot can attest.

And representatives for the horsemen who would work at the harness track — who pushed to include it in the new gaming law — are skeptical about the dark horse Balmoral bid.

“There’s a shroud of mystery that’s concerning,” Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association executive director Tony Somone said. “Who is Phil Goldberg? He’s not a racetrack person, not a gaming person. We’d like to work together with this group, but we don’t really know who we’re dealing with.”