Early Meet Promotions at Saratoga 2018 – Part I

Early Meet Promotions – July 20 – August 11

The New York Racing Association, Inc. announced a 40-day lineup of entertainment and special events for the 2018 summer season at Saratoga Race Course. The event schedule for the annual summer meet will feature a number of new happenings alongside returning traditions and perennial favorites.

New for 2018, Coca-Cola will serve as the official sponsor of the Saratoga Pavilion, the on-track venue where NYRA hosts 40 days of special events. The Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion is where fans will gather to enjoy the majority of event activities during the summer meet.

“All of us at NYRA are thrilled to welcome Coca-Cola to the Saratoga Pavilion, where we orchestrate a variety of fun events and engaging activities each summer. Our event schedule offers something for everyone and perfectly complements the 40 days of world-class thoroughbred racing at the Spa,” said NYRA Senior Vice President and Chief Experience Officer Lynn LaRocca. “We look forward to welcoming fans to enjoy another season of outstanding entertainment and special events at Saratoga, and encourage them to make the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion a must-see stop during their visit.”

Among the notable enhancements to this season’s event lineup, the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion will host Fashion Saturdays, designed to showcase the tradition of style in thoroughbred racing by creating a boutique-style shopping experience. The weekly event will feature an array of women’s and men’s fashion apparel and accessories from local retailers, as well as a selection of home décor and jewelry items throughout the season.

Saratoga starting gateThe 2018 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course will include the following events and happenings:

OPENING DAY AT SARATOGA: Friday, July 20
The 2018 annual summer meet will kick-off with the traditional Grade III Schuylerville and Grade III Lake George.

TASTE NY: CRAFT BEER: Every Friday beginning July 20
Taste NY: Craft Beer will allow guests the opportunity to sample numerous craft beers produced exclusively by New York State breweries. The tasting will be held each Friday from noon to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. Guests will enjoy five samples for $5. Must be 21 years or older to participate.

WOODFORD RESERVE BOURBON FRIDAYS AT THE POST: Every Friday beginning July 20
Guests will be invited to stay on-track after the day’s final race to enjoy bourbon cocktails and play trivia to win special prizes from Woodford Reserve at The Post Bar. The weekly event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.

FASHION SATURDAYS: Every Saturday beginning July 21
Designed to showcase the tradition of style in thoroughbred racing, the weekly event will feature women’s and men’s fashion apparel and accessories from local retailers, as well as a selection of home décor and jewelry items throughout the season. The event will be held each Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion.

WOODFORD RESERVE AND JEFF BRISBIN AT THE JIM DANDY BAR:Every Saturday beginning July 21 (except Travers Day)
Guests are invited to the Jim Dandy Bar to sample Woodford Reserve Saratoga Personal Selection, crafted exclusively for racing fans at the Spa. The weekly event will be held from 2 to 4 p.m.

KETEL ONE SATURDAYS AT THE POST: Every Saturday beginning July 21
Fans are invited to sample the new Ketel One Botanicals from 3 to 5 p.m. and enjoy music from a live DJ and dancing under the stars following the day’s final race.

27TH ANNUAL HAT CONTEST PRESENTED BY HAT SATIONA! BY DEI: Sunday, July 22
Hundreds of contestants will don creative and fashionable head toppers to compete in what has become a staple of Opening Weekend at Saratoga Race Course: the 27th annual Hat Contest. Registration begins at noon under the grandstand for three categories. The contests for Kreative Kids, Fashionably Saratoga and Uniquely Saratoga will take place after the second, third and fourth races of the afternoon. Prizes are provided by Hat sationa! by DEI.

TASTE NY: FOOD & ARTISANS: Every Sunday beginning July 22
Taste NY: Food & Artisans is a lively on-track market of numerous food and artisan vendors featuring products made exclusively in New York State. The market will be held each Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. Guests will also have the opportunity to learn about NYRA Bets.

LOW ROLLER CHALLENGE: Every Sunday and Monday beginning July 22 (except Labor Day)
Sundays and Mondays will include the Low Roller Challenge which allows aspiring handicappers the opportunity to experience the thrill of tournament play for $40, with $30 going towards live bankroll and $10 to the prize pool. Registration begins at 11 a.m. near the Fourstardave Sports Bar.

BERKSHIRE BANK FAMILY MONDAYS: Every Monday beginning July 23
The Berkshire Bank Family Mondays series will feature a wide variety of family-friendly activities, games, attractions and educational activities each Monday of the meet from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. All games and activities are free with the exception of one each week designated to support a local school or PTA.

MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY PRESENTED BY JDOG: Wednesday, July 25
Saratoga Race Course will pay tribute to active military members and veterans in appreciation of their sacrifice and service to our nation. The Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion will feature exhibits and activities throughout the day. All veterans and active duty military will receive free Grandstand admission with military ID. Military Day is presented in partnership with JDog, owned and operated by local military veterans and family members.

walking horse through Saratoga crowdTASTE NY: CIDER, WINE & SPIRITS: Every Thursday beginning July 26
Taste NY: Cider, Wine & Spirits will allow guests the opportunity to sample varietals of cider, wine and spirits from numerous New York State distilleries and wineries. Live music will accompany the tasting each Thursday of the meet from noon to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. Guests will enjoy five samples for $5. Must be 21 years or older to participate.

APEROL THURSDAYS AT THE POST: Every Thursday beginning July 26
Each Thursday, guests will have the opportunity to sample Aperol Spritz cocktails at The Post Bar from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Fans are also invited to stay on-track after racing to enjoy music from a live DJ and dancing under the stars.

PERMANENTLY DISABLED JOCKEYS’ FUND AWARENESS DAY: Saturday, July 28
Saratoga Race Course will unite with racetracks across the country on Saturdaywith autograph signings and photo opportunities as part of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund (PDJF) Day Across America.

FIRST RESPONDERS APPRECIATION DAY PRESENTED BY Brookview Village: Wednesday, August 1
Saratoga Race Course will honor police officers, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics during First Responders Appreciation Day. The Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion will feature exhibits and activities throughout the day, including free youth bicycle helmets and fittings, while supplies last. All first responders will receive free Grandstand admission with proper ID.

WHITNEY DAY AND THE FASIG-TIPTON FESTIVAL OF RACING: Saturday, August 4
The Grade 1, $1.2 million Whitney will pair with the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Test for 3-year-old fillies, and the Grade 3, $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya for turf fillies and mares. Also on Saturday are two additional turf stakes: the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure and the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose for fillies and mares.

JOCKEY LEGENDS DAY PRESENTED BY FASIG-TIPTON: Sunday, August 5
Some of the greatest riders in the history of thoroughbred racing will gather at Saratoga Race Course for the fourth annual Jockey Legends Day. The day’s activities will feature special appearances by some of the Spa’s most accomplished riders and autograph signings with a suggested donation to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund.

ITALIAN-AMERICAN DAY, PRESENTED BY APEROL SPRITZ: Wednesday, August 8
The charm and spirit of Italy will come trackside when Saratoga Race Course hosts Italian-American Day. The day-long celebration of Italian culture and heritage will feature traditional Italian music, dance, food, entertainment and games at the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The afternoon will also include an Aperol Spritz tasting at The Stretch, located inside the Grandstand at the Top of the Stretch.

FABULOUS FILLIES DAY: Thursday, August 9
Saratoga Race Course will celebrate women and their contributions to the thoroughbred industry while raising funds to support The Breast Cancer Research Foundation on Fabulous Fillies Day. This year’s event will for the first-time honor local breast cancer survivors during special winner’s circle presentations throughout the afternoon in partnership with To Life! The day will also feature the return of the Best in Pink fashion contest for women and men, sponsored by vineyard vines and Moet & Chandon. A highlight of the day will be the Sizzling Hot Pink Saratoga Hat Luncheon, presented by vineyard vines and Moet & Chandon, along with Saratoga Living. This year’s luncheon will honor Vivien Malloy, owner of Edition Farm and secretary and treasurer of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders.

SARATOGA CHALLENGES: Friday, August 10 and Saturday, August 11
The pair of live money challenges will occur as two separate one-day contests. The Saratoga Challenge on Friday will guarantee a first-place payout of $15,000, as well as awarding entries to the 2019 Belmont Stakes Challenge to the top finishers and the 2019 National Handicapping Championship to the top three finishers. The Fourstardave Challenge on Saturday will guarantee a first-place payout of $25,000, as well as awarding the same entries as on Friday. Both challenges will consist of wagering exclusively on Saratoga races through the following pools only: Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta, Quinella and Daily Double. Friday is a $1,000 minimum buy-in; Saturday is a $2,000 minimum buy-in. For more information about the Saratoga Challenges, visit www.NYRA.com/Challenge.

Fashion Saturdays at Saratoga Race Course 2018

2018 Saratoga Horse Racing Meets Has a Lot to Offer with Fashion Saturdays

The 2018 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course will showcase the tradition of style in Thoroughbred racing during Fashion Saturdays at the Spa. The first edition of the series will be held on Saturday, July 21.

The weekly event, held each Saturday of the meet from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., will welcome guests to the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion for a boutique-style shopping experience. Guests will enjoy an array of women’s and men’s fashion apparel, accessories and beauty items from local retailers, as well as a selection of home décor and jewelry.

“Style and fashion are inherently a part of the racing experience and we are excited to honor this custom with Fashion Saturdays at Saratoga Race Course,” said NYRA Senior Vice President and Chief Experience Officer Lynn LaRocca. “We encourage fans to join us each Saturday for an afternoon of shopping at the Spa where our guests can find the perfect item to complement their race day ensemble.”

Participating vendors for this year’s Fashion Saturdays series include:

Bumble Beads Boutique, offering affordable women’s clothing, jewelry, accessories, bridal specialty items and giftware.
Carol Wells Collection, featuring a selection of equestrian and fashion jewelry made using freshwater cultured pearls, quartz, beach glass and sea shells.
Complexions Spa, offering wellness and beauty products such as lotions, make-up kits and massage therapy.
Lifestyles of Saratoga, featuring a collection of women’s clothing, jewelry and accessories for shoppers of all ages.
Miss Scarlett Boutique, offering a hand-picked selection of fashionable dresses, hats, fascinators, jewelry and handbags.
The National, a classic men’s clothing shop featuring quality brands.
TOGA Heritage, featuring fine goods for the home and office and celebratory gifts which incorporate the culture, tradition and memories of Saratoga.
Shoppers at Fashion Saturdays will also enjoy light music, including jazz and acoustic guitar.

“The National team could not be more excited to participate in Fashion Saturdays at Saratoga Race Course. We are also honored to have a presence in the Grandstand at The Stretch on Saturdays to support the efforts that NYRA has invested in this all-new area to provide yet another memorable guest experience for track goers,” said The National Vice-President of Retail Peter Tavares. “Our men’s sportswear and accessory options cover the spectrum from casual to business attire.”

Fashion Saturdays corresponds with the biggest race days of the season at Saratoga, including the following lineup of major stakes:

July 21: Grade 1, $500,000 Diana; Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford
July 28: Grade 1, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap; Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy; Grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green; Grade 3, $200,000 Amsterdam
August 4: Grade 1, $1.2 million Whitney; Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Test; Grade 3, $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya
August 11: Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap; Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack
August 18: Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama; Grade 2, $300,000 Lake Placid
August 25: Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers; Grade 1, $1 million Sword Dancer; Grade 1, $700,000 Personal Ensign; Grade 1, $600,000 Forego; Grade 1, $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina; Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial; Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa
September 1: Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward; Grade 1, $350,000 Spinaway;; Grade 3, $300,000 Saranac; Grade 3, $250,000 Glens Falls
Season ticket plans, weekly ticket plans, single-day reserved seats, premium reserved seats in The Stretch, reserved tables in the Miller Lite Picnic Paddock and the Fourstardave Sports Bar, dining and group hospitality are currently on sale and available for purchase at NYRA.com/Saratoga.

Saratoga paddock copyright Agameofskill.comSeason admission passes may be purchased online at NYRA.com/Saratoga and in-person at more than 150 Stewart’s Shops locations throughout the Capital Region. A season pass provides fans with admission to 40 days of world-class thoroughbred racing at Saratoga Race Course, including the Grade 1 Travers on Saturday, August 25 and the Grade 1 Whitney on Saturday, August 4. The cost of a 2018 Grandstand season pass is $40; a Clubhouse season pass is $65. Season passes do not include reserved seating and are valid for one admission.

Single-day Grandstand admission is $5 and Clubhouse admission is $8 for guests who purchase their tickets prior to the day of the event. Single-day Grandstand admission is $7 and Clubhouse admission is $10 when purchased at the gate.

The 2018 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course, which includes 69 stakes worth $18.8 million in purses, will run from Friday, July 20, through Labor Day, Monday, September 3. After opening weekend, racing will be conducted six days a week, Wednesdays through Mondays. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit NYRA.com/Saratoga.

source: NYRA

New Celebrities Ready to Promote Horse Racing

Jamie Lynn Sigler
at the Stride Gum Longest Day of the Year Party. Crown Bar, Los Angeles, CA. 06-20-08

Breeders’ Cup, Thoroughbred horse racing’s most prestigious international event, has announced four new Breeders’ Cup Ambassadors, a distinction awarded to celebrity racing fans and owners. The new Breeders’ Cup Ambassadors will promote and serve as spokespersons for the upcoming 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held in Louisville, Kentucky on Nov. 2 and 3.

The new Breeders’ Cup Ambassadors include Chris Harrison (television host), Erik R. Johnson (NHL defenseman), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (actress), and Michael Owen (sports pundit). First launched in 2012, the Breeders’ Cup Ambassador program includes an impressive roster of talent, which mostly recently inducted Kate Upton, Gary Player, James Carville, Avery Johnson, John Ortiz, and Steven Jackson in 2013.

The newest Breeders’ Cup Ambassadors share a deep love for horse racing and boast intimate ties to the sport. Chris Harrison, most well-known for his role on the hit reality television show The Bachelor, began his career as a sportscaster and was a host for TVG Network during its launch in 1999.

Erik R. Johnson, the ice hockey defenseman for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, first became a horse owner in 2014 and has since owned and raced winning horses in the name of his racing stable, ERJ Racing.

Jamie-Lynn Sigler, an award-winning actress well known for her work on The Sopranos, grew up with horse racing as a daughter of the principal owners of the prestigious Winning Move Stable in New York.

Lastly, in addition to owning a state-of-the-art training facility and award-winning horses, former English footballer Michael Owen, who played for prestigious teams including Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Liverpool F.C., recently made his own debut as a jockey at a charity race at Ascot Racecourse in 2017.

“I am excited to join a fantastic list of individuals as a Breeders’ Cup Ambassador,” said Harrison. “I’ve attended the Breeders’ Cup, and I really enjoy watching the outstanding showcase of international Thoroughbred racing, as well as the fun and energy at the event. I look forward to supporting the Breeders’ Cup for many years to come.”

“We are excited to introduce a new group of Ambassadors to the Breeders’ Cup family,” said Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Craig Fravel. “From actors to former football players, these new ambassadors diversify our program with their many talents and backgrounds, and their shared passion for Breeders’ Cup and horse racing enriches the fan experience. We look forward to sharing their enthusiasm with fans across the world.”

The 35th annual Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held on Friday, November 2 and Saturday, November 3, 2018 at the iconic Churchill Downs racetrack. To learn more about the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, please visit www.breederscup.com/2018. For more details on Breeders’ Cup Celebrity Ambassadors, please visit http://www.breederscup.com/experience/celebrity-ambassadors.

source: Breeders Cup

Today! Arizona Downs Opens for Simulcast Wagering

Arizona DownsPRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. — Friday, July 13th will be a lucky day for those in the region wanting a new place to bet on horse racing as well as another entertainment venue.

The new Arizona Downs is bringing back wagering on racetracks across the country to the site of the old Yavapai Downs on July 13. Arizona Downs’ simulcast room is being constructed on the first floor of the grandstand, part of more than $2 million in renovations planned. The facility will be open seven days a week beginning at 9 a.m. MST. Admission and parking are free.

“The local region is booming, and we will be an entertainment option for horseplayers and sports fans,” said Arizona Downs general manager Ann McGovern. “Our customers can watch horse racing, professional and college sports and enjoy food and beverages. With more than 40 televisions, Arizona Downs will have something for everyone. And by opening in mid-July, we start accruing money toward horsemen’s purses, which will really be a boost in 11 months when live racing returns here after a decade’s absence.”

Yavapai Downs last ran in 2010. The facility was bought out of bankruptcy court in January by J&J Equine Enterprises LLC, an entity formed by brothers and Phoenix-based JACOR Partners principals Tom, Dave and Mike Auther and their partner Joe Jackson, along with longtime racing executive Corey Johnsen. Live thoroughbred and quarter-horse racing in the summer will return to Arizona in 2019, with Arizona Downs running Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

The new owners chose to change the track’s name from Yavapai Downs to Arizona Downs to reflect the restoration of a year-round circuit to the state, as well as its importance to all facets of Arizona’s racehorse industries.

The opening comes right before the start of two of the nation’s most popular tracks for handicappers, with Southern California’s Del Mar opening July 18 and Saratoga in upstate New York commencing July 20, as well as prominent summer signals such as Kentucky’s Ellis Park, Arlington Park in suburban Chicago, Florida’s Gulfstream Park, Monmouth Park in New Jersey and Minnesota’s Canterbury Park, where a number of Arizona trainers have spent summers since Yavapai Downs closed. Los Alamitos’ quarter-horse racing also will be a featured signal.

Arizona Downs’ launch of its onsite off-track betting facility is the first step toward creating an in-state network of simulcasting outlets affiliated with the track in order to further strengthen purses paid out to racehorse owners.

Source: Arizona Downs

Is Horse Racing Dead in Massachusetts? Not Yet

Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, LLC (SSR), the company that operates Thoroughbred racing, wagering and simulcasting at Suffolk Downs, and Fairgrounds Realty LLC and Fair Grounds Community Redevelopment Project Inc., the entities that own the Great Barrington Fairgrounds, have reached an agreement for a long-term lease of the historic race track property in Great Barrington to commence racing as soon as 2019, the companies recently announced.

Under the agreement, Sterling Suffolk Downs would refurbish the Fairgrounds property and operate a commercial race meeting at Great Barrington while continuing to operate simulcast wagering at its current location in East Boston. Suffolk Downs, the New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NEHBPA) and the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders (MTBA) are seeking modifications in state racing and simulcasting laws, which are set to expire at the end of July, to accommodate the new arrangement.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for us to help preserve and refurbish an iconic property in the heart of the Berkshires, to boost economic development in Great Barrington, continue live racing and preserve the hundreds of jobs, associated agribusinesses and working open spaces associated with the Massachusetts racing industry,” said Chip Tuttle, Sterling Suffolk Racecourse’s chief operating officer. “We are confident that we can do this consistent with Fair Grounds Community Redevelopment’s vision for sustainable preservation of the fairground property as a space devoted to community recreation and with a strong connection to its agricultural heritage.”

“We are excited to enter into this partnership which offers potential benefits to so many people and organizations in our community, western Mass. and the surrounding area,” said Bart Elsbach, chairman of the Fair Grounds Community Redevelopment Project, “Finding a group to partner with us in a meaningful way to continue use of our site in keeping with its history while continuing to offer the area valuable recreational and economic benefits without aggressive commercial development is consistent with our ongoing vision for the fairgrounds.”

The Great Barrington Fairgrounds has a rich history. It was the host of the longest continually operating agricultural fair in New England. Horse racing started on the property in 1859 and it was regarded as the centerpiece of the Massachusetts fair circuit. Pari-mutuel wagering began at Great Barrington in September of 1940 and continued through 1983. The track last offered Thoroughbred racing 20 years ago in 1998. The grandstand, barns and track facilities still stand, though they will require restoration and repair. In addition to improvements to the track surface, grandstand and other facilities, SSR officials indicated that they would be looking at expanding the racing surface at Great Barrington.

Massachusetts map“In its current condition, we are confident that we could conduct racing as soon as next year, should we need to, and we plan to explore with Bart, his team and the town options on expanding the racing surface to accommodate racing at longer distances. There was traditionally strong support for racing here and we hope to attract fans from across New England and New York.”

Suffolk Downs is scheduled to host three live racing and food truck festival weekends this summer on Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10, July 7-8 and August 4-5. Track officials have said that they hope to continue racing at the site in 2019.

In December 2012, the 57-acre fairgrounds property was purchased by Sheffield couple Bart and Janet Elsbach with the vision to preserve and restore the environmental health of the site. The Elsbachs created the not-for-profit Fair Grounds Community Redevelopment Project which has provided agricultural, educational, recreational, and other beneficial opportunities to the local community and visitors through the preservation and sustainable development of this historic fairgrounds site.

The revival of racing at Great Barrington has the support of the NEHBPA and the MTBA. The two organizations entered a joint agreement with Sterling Suffolk Racecourse in November of last year to seek alternative venues for continuing Thoroughbred racing in the state and to pursue changes in the state’s racing and simulcast laws that would facilitate the continuation of live racing. SSR sold the Suffolk Downs property to a development company in May of 2017 and has continued to operate under a lease agreement since then.

“Our membership is made up of hundreds of small businessmen and women and local family farms who want to continue the chance to earn purse monies and to make a productive contribution to the Massachusetts’ economy,” said Anthony Spadea, president of the NEHBPA. “Many of us raced at Great Barrington in 1997 and 1998 and would enjoy the opportunity to make it the seasonal home of racing here. We appreciate the support of the Legislature, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the Suffolk Downs team to keep this industry active and vital.”

Source: Press Release

World Horse Racing Created to Promote the Sport

Promoting Horse Racing Worldwide

A ground-breaking new media company dedicated to telling the story of international Thoroughbred horse racing has launched.

World Horse Racing will give fans exclusive access to the thrills, glamour and culture of one of the world’s most enthralling sports.

This major new media brand is unique in being powered by four iconic racing festivals – Ascot and Goodwood Racecourses in the UK, Breeders’ Cup in the United States, and Australia’s Victoria Racing Club.

Launching across the major social networks, World Horse Racing’s fresh approach to the sport aims to earn the respect of hardcore fans and attract sports enthusiasts who have yet to explore horse racing.

World Horse Racing will focus on racing’s astonishing athletes and engaging personalities – human and equine – along with the festivals that stage the greatest of sporting spectacles.

young attractive British racegoerThe authority and access afforded by its global network of founding partners will allow World Horse Racing to bring fans closer to the sport’s stars, and offer new, striking treatments of international thoroughbred horse racing.

World Horse Racing will also connect the sport’s stars with its fans by providing a platform for the very best in user generated content.

Coverage will be free to access on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, along with an existing network of over a million who follow founding partner pages.

“We already know horse racing is one of the most popular sports in the world,” said Ascot’s chief commercial officer, Juliet Slot, “but we felt there was real potential to tell our brilliant stories to a much wider audience. World Horse Racing gives us the perfect platform to reach a new generation of fans and give a more compelling and engaging story arc compared to standard news coverage. All four of us have so many fascinating tales to tell and it’s these ‘Wow, I never knew that’ pieces of content that we’re looking to celebrate.”

Breeders’ Cup CMO Bryan Pettigrew said of the launch: “Breeders’ Cup continues to forge relationships and collaborate with international racing leaders to move the Thoroughbred industry forward. WHR is a prime example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. We anticipate a great partnership with Ascot, Flemington and Goodwood in promoting our sport on a global platform.”

“Horse Racing has always had the most incredible stories that sit behind the sport,” said Goodwood’s MD, Adam Waterworth, “and World Horse Racing will tell those stories to a new and wider audience. In recent years the sport has become increasingly global, and so it seems the perfect time for a collection of the world’s most important festivals to launch a new platform that will enrich the existing fans experience through some real behind the scenes and previously unseen content, as well as introduce racing to a new audience by focusing on the horses, the people, and the sport.”

Neil Wilson, CEO of The Victoria Racing Club, said: “We’re excited to join with Goodwood, Ascot and Breeders’ Cup to showcase the best of horseracing around the world. This is an opportunity to broaden our reach and engage with racing fans globally by highlighting our spectacular race days including the four days of the world-renowned Melbourne Cup Carnival, our events, our equine and human athletes and the people behind it all, to new and existing audiences. World Horse Racing is a must-follow destination for fans seeking original and exclusive stories on and off the track.”

World Horse Racing’s social media will be produced and managed by Engage Digital Partners, which has a team of 80 staff in UK and India with on-ground presence in the Middle East, USA, Argentina and Australia. Engage has an impressive sports pedigree, working with the likes of World Rugby, Major League Baseball, Godolphin, Arsenal FC and Vodafone.

To find out more about World Horse Racing – and to catch up on the latest stories – search for World Horse Racing on social media, or just go to worldhorseracing.com.

Source: Press Release

Florida Horse Racing: An Economic Study

“Florida has a robust equine industry with more than $6.8 billion total value added to the state’s economy,”

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Florida

The latest American Horse Council study pinpoints the Florida equine industry’s large-scale economic impact and industry officials are taking note. The $6.8 billion annual equine economic impact in Florida is up by 33% since the last study over a decade ago. The racing sector’s impact is up 47%.

“That’s significant,” said Lonny Powell, CEO of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owner’s Association. “Florida truly is a horse state. To many, the beach, sun, sand, and oranges are synonymous with Florida, but our state has been steadily adding equines to that list to hang our state’s collective hat on for some time. Equines are becoming a strong part of Florida’s brand.”

“A thriving thoroughbred industry is vital to the state’s economy and to providing world class entertainment to spectators from around the globe,” said P.J. Campo, Vice President of Racing for The Stronach Group.

Campo added, “It’s significant that racetrack operators in the state generate $307 million in revenue and create over 1,200 jobs with purses in excess of $105 million. Our Miami-area operation, Gulfstream Park, is one of the gems in the racing world and its right here in Florida.”

Campo is referring to the world-class racing experience for both competitors and spectators and one of the world’s richest days of horse racing with the Pegasus World Cup.

“Florida has a robust equine industry with more than $6.8 billion total value added to the state’s economy,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam. “As the third largest state in terms of equine population in the United States, Florida’s horse industry is vital to the state’s economy. The export of purebred horses from the state is one of our fastest growing sectors and shows the prominence of Florida’s horses worldwide.”

The numbers also reveal jobs are up by 8% from the last study conducted 13 years ago. Florida has been a proponent of state job growth, especially in recent years, and the employment numbers are important for an overall robust state environment. The labor-intensive industry provides jobs ranging from directly working with horses – including grooms, trainers and equine health practitioners – to a significant number of jobs that exist in the restaurant, hotel and hospitality sector thanks to racetracks and equine venues.

Thoroughbred horse sales, specifically the Ocala Breeders’ Sales, contribute strongly to the hospitality sector as buyers from as many as 49 states and 38 countries flock to the two-year-olds in training sales each spring. Horse sales in the state generated $156 million in revenue in 2016.

Tom Ventura, president of Ocala Breeders’ Sales said, “Since 2010, OBS has sold over 22,000 horses for more than $1 billion dollars to buyers from every state except Alaska and 38 different countries. OBS has become the destination to buy quality two year olds, accounting for nearly 70% of juvenile sales in North America.”

In addition to the sales, Ocala, Marion county, is recognized worldwide as the hub of thoroughbred breeding and training carrying the moniker, “Horse Capital of the World™” due to the number of horses of all breeds and world class equine events that are based there. About 15,000 thoroughbreds annually receive early training in the state away from harsh winters and frozen ground. The area is strongly supported by a concentration of equine services, such as leading veterinarians, researchers, feed and tack retailers, equine dentists, and major horse transportation companies.

“Anecdotally, we’ve known locally for a long time the significant impact of equines to our county economy. Our 2015 study commissioned by the CEP provided those hard numbers – a substantive $2.6 billion economic impact to the county. Having a national study that drills down to the state level just solidifies the growth we’ve been seeing in recent years ourselves,” said Kevin T. Sheilley, president and CEO of the Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership.

The latest study reports Florida is home to 387,078 horses with one in four being thoroughbreds in racing, competition and recreation. Thoroughbreds make up the largest segment of the horse population in Florida. Florida nationally is third in horse population behind Texas which is over four times larger geographically and California which over two times larger.

“With over 113,000 jobs and a robust $6.8 billion in total impact, equines continue to have a notably greater economic impact than our signature spring baseball training. The study clearly supports the train of thought that the Florida thoroughbred business, along with our entire equine industry, are not only worth preserving but supporting and growing as well. Florida is most fortunate to have such an industry and agri-business already well established within its borders just as we Floridians are fortunate to live and work here,” Powell said.

With the fourth largest growth rate in the nation, land is at a premium in Florida. Agricultural operations like equine production preserve a significant amount of land. The latest report notes land owned or rented for horse-related purposes has increased to 717,000 acres. The preserved land, mostly in Central Florida, provides rural opportunities for city-bound Floridians and opportunities for diversity of tourism in the state. The report covers figures as of 2016.

Last year, two Florida-breds, Caledonia Road and World Approval won Eclipse awards, the nation’s highest honor for thoroughbreds. They join the list of 52 national champions including six Florida-bred Kentucky Derby winners. Florida has had more winners of Kentucky Derbies outside of Kentucky than any other state. Champions include 28 Breeders’ Cup winners.

“It’s clear to see why the road to the Kentucky Derby begins here in Ocala, Horse Capital of the World™,” said City of Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, “ It is a major epi-center of the horse world and is part of our daily life here integrated into our hometown history, arts and culture. It’s not surprising the state numbers would reflect what we’ve known in Marion County for a long time, that the industry makes a significant impact.”

“The equine industry is a key driver of the local economy in Marion County,” said Kathy Bryant, Chairman of the Marion County Commission. “Ever since Needles’ triumph in the 1956 Kentucky Derby, we’ve proudly been the home to countless thoroughbreds who attract jobs and excitement to our community.”

Incentive programs offered in Florida are a key to the industry and have grown in recent years.

“Florida consistently ranks in the top two to three in foal crop annually. Incentives in the state from breeders’ and owners’ awards, to bonus money for races of all types give Florida-breds robust opportunities to earn more for their owners who have invested in them. The Florida Sire Stakes series promotes stallions standing in the state and gives FSS eligible Florida-breds going into the sales arena opportunities for their buyers to race in the prestigious series,” said Powell.

Hip 94, Pioneerof the Nile–Faith In Me, sold for $1 million at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Florida sale

Stephen W. Screnci, president of Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Inc., said: “It is very rewarding to see strong Florida numbers and with new incentive additions to racing meets, the economic impact should continue to further enhance our already strong all-year program here in Florida.”

Tampa Paddock

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

“We are continually seeking to enhance the state’s breeding and racing programs by providing incentives for horsemen to race Florida-breds at Tampa Bay Downs,” said the track’s Vice President and General Manager Peter Berube. “We also recognize the importance of Florida’s thoroughbreds and to attracting new investors in the state.”

Bob Jeffries, president of the Tampa Bay Downs HBPA, offered his enthusiasm for the study noting the cooperation of industry members to continue the growth of the industry.

“We have the largest stakes program in Tampa Bay Downs history currently. When the track, the horsemen and the Florida breeders work together as a team, good things happen for everyone. And good things are happening,” Jeffries said.

Powell added, “Our job at FTBOA is to promote, advocate for and enhance the economics of our state-wide industry at home as well as outside our state and national borders. This fresh American Horse Council study clearly demonstrates the importance of our mandate on behalf of the entire state industry. Our breeders, farms, tracks, owners, conditioners and equine professionals are top-shelf, which, along with our weather and quality of life, make Florida the greatest place to breed, sell, own and race.”

The industry is supported by Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services which creates a favorable business climate including no tax on stallion seasons, exemptions for horses purchased from original breeders and a breeding stock exemption. Feed and animal health items are exempt along with certain farm equipment. Property tax breaks are also provided to Florida’s horse farms.

New to the study was the addition of analysis of the impact and scale of equine retirement, sanctuaries, and therapy programs. These programs among other re-training programs give thoroughbreds that are no longer racehorses opportunities for second careers in horse sport competitions and recreation. These programs added multi-millions in impact, slightly over $114 million, compared to the billions in the racing sector, but their importance cannot be unscored enough in showcasing the versatility of horses in second careers.

Source: Press Release

NJ horse racing group sues major sports leagues over bet losses

The action filed by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association claims the leagues acted in bad faith when they sought a restraining order in 2014 to block Monmouth Park Racetrack from offering sports betting, because the pro leagues were actively promoting and endorsing businesses that made millions from fantasy sports games that rely on …

Source: NJ horse racing group sues major sports leagues over bet losses

Justify’s Win Illustrates a Major Problem in Horse Racing

By Charles Simon

Justify ran his eyeballs out in winning the Preakness and, truly, he has done some amazing things by being pushed to the limit in a modern racing world where risk taking is seemingly a foreign concept. He is headed to Belmont with a chance to win a quite unique version of the Triple Crown. However, one of the biggest underlying issues of horse racing is being exposed during this fantastic and rapid ascent by Justify.

The very top of racing is polluted with conflicts of interest, with too few horsemen training all the best horses for a narrow group of very wealthy people that have increasingly chosen to join together rather than compete against each other. When Triple Crown-runs and our most important races are now potentially compromised because of that situation, how much longer until the validity of the results of the sport are questioned?

Derby144 workout Justify at Santa AnitaAx Man won the Sir Barton over the same track as Justify did on Saturday with a better speed figure (99 to 97). Does that mean he would have won Preakness or is better than Justify? Absolutely not, but it does mean that him not participating in the Belmont Stakes because his trainer is shooting for a Triple Crown with a different horse is a little unsettling. I completely understand why they wouldn’t run, but it’s still an uncomfortable situation to try to explain away.

Audible might have won the Preakness considering the 1/2 length margin that Justify won by over clearly inferior horses with running styles very similar to Audible’s running style. If Audible who is owned by the same group that owns Justify doesn’t run in the Belmont and goes on to be the best three year old post-Triple Crown season, it could be the first modern day Triple Crown that comes with an asterisk.

Sure, Justify is a great horse who will have earned it if he completes the Triple Crown with a Belmont win but having potentially two of the arguably top five, healthy three year olds not competing because everyone seems to be on the same team… well, to be kind, it is not a ‘good look.’ We have no idea if they could beat him but the whole idea of racing is to race to see if they can.

These are our very best and most important races, and they are increasingly fraught with conflict of interest which are more readily apparent because of the spotlight focused on the Triple Crown. Think about how compromised our regular graded stakes can be affected in a similar though more subtle manner? We won’t even go into regular overnight races and the issues created there.

The entire premise of the sport of horse racing is competition. “My horse is better than yours. Let’s prove it on the track”. The more bastardized the top of the sport becomes, the more the foundation of the entire game is weakened. If this past week’s white-hot debate over the ‘future of racing in a sports betting legalized world’ doesn’t make this situation even more troubling, you just aren’t paying attention.

Imagine if the owners of the Golden State Warriors bought a 20-percent stake in the Houston Rockets before the Western Conference Finals? How do you think that would go over with sports fans? And our sport is supported by people BETTING on it!

 

  • Charles Simon is a successful, veteran trainer based out of South Florida.

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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