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…”

Phenomenal Purses Scheduled for Churchill Downs’ 145th Spring Meet

$5,000 claimers running for $29,000.   Bottom allowance runners going for a $103,000 purse.  That’s the type of purses set for Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby week 2019.   Is horse racing dead?  Not in Kentucky.

Per the Churchill Downs’ press release:

Record prize money for horsemen will be distributed at Churchill Downs’ 145th Spring Meet thanks to early returns from state-of-the-art historical racing machines at Derby City Gaming.

The first condition book, which covers the first half of the 38-day Spring Meet, was released Wednesday, and purses for the 189 offered races total $20.1 million – an unprecedented 46% increase from last spring’s $13.7 million. The daily average is $1,056,842 compared to $722,579 in 2018, or $106,243 per race versus $72,640. All purses include prize money from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.

Purses for all six days of racing on Derby Week (April 27-May 4) have been supercharged. In years past, only the purses on Oaks and Derby days were boosted. Maiden special weight races will be $100,000. Allowance races will range from $103,000 to $110,000. Total purses on Oaks Day will exceed $3.6 million, and Derby Day prize money will be worth a record $6.9 million.

After Derby Week, maiden special weight races will be worth $85,000 (up from $53,000 in 2018), and allowance races will range from $87,000 to $94,000 (up from $55,000 to $61,000 in 2018). The daily prize money post-Derby Week will average $525,308 compared to $356,769 in 2018, or $55,975 per race versus $38,016 a year ago.

In a change from last year, the winner’s share of the purse in all overnight races will be 56% (previously 60%) and 1.5% of the purse will be distributed to the sixth- through last-place finishers (previously 0.5%) to incentivize starts and reward owners who run their horses.

More than $30 million in total prize money – $12 million in stakes races and another $18 million in overnight races – is expected to be offered during this year’s Spring Meet. Last year, total purses paid during the 372-race Spring Meet was $22.2 million.

“This is such an exciting time to be a part of Kentucky racing,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “Our investment into Derby City Gaming, which opened just five months ago, continues to pay immediate dividends to Kentucky horsemen. We have reinforced our Derby Week festival concept, solidified our lucrative stakes program and tremendously strengthened our overnight racing product.We truly believe this growth and methodology will benefit all owners, trainers and jockeys that participate at Churchill Downs and make for an extremely exciting and competitive meet.”

With 75 total racing dates in 2019, Churchill Downs will offer more racing opportunities for horsemen than any other racetrack in Kentucky and increase its purses with more than an additional $10 million as a result of handle generated by Derby City Gaming’s initial year of operation. The $65 million facility opened in mid-September at nearby 4520 Poplar Level Road.

Earlier this year, Churchill Downs announced a record 34-race, $12.2 million Spring Meet stakes schedule that included a $1 million boost to the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) on Saturday, May 4, making it worth a guaranteed $3 million. Also among the 15 stakes races that received significant increases were the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), which was raised to $1.25 million, and the Old Forester Turf Classic (GI), which was doubled to $1 million.

Stall applications for the highly-anticipated Spring Meet, which will begin Saturday, April 27 and continue through Saturday, June 29, are due Friday, March 8. The stable area will reopen Tuesday, March 19 and the first scheduled day of training is Friday, March 22.

View the condition book online: https://www.churchilldowns.com/horsemen/racing/condition-book/.

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 ….

Time Is Running Out for a Beloved Mechanical Horse-Race Game in Vegas

End of an Era

Sigma Game Inc.’s Derby machines started appearing on casino floors in 1985. The rules were simple enough for anyone who had already enjoyed a number of complimentary drinks to follow, and the display compelling enough to hook even the soberest of minds: A series of odds ranging from 2-1 to a maximum of 200-1 are displayed before each race. You have 30 seconds to insert your quarters and place your bets on one of 10 possible quinella combinations—which two horses will place first and second—at one of the 10 stations surrounding the toy track. Then you cheer on your chosen ponies as an elaborate series of gears hurtles them around the track for 60 seconds. If your chosen horses come in first and second, you win the corresponding odds.

(For example, if you bet on the combination with 2-1 odds, you’ll get two quarters for every one that you bet. If you have money on the 200-1 and it happens to come in, you’ll win 200 quarters per quarter bet, and the infectious communal joy of winning the big one with your fellow players.)

Getting to Know the BCBC Boys – Tournament Players

Nice profile / handicapping piece from a few years ago by Ren Hakim Carothers

We’ve long marketed our sport as that of kings. While this packaging does reflect the money that goes into breeding, training, and running these majestic athletes, heightening the stakes and romanticizing the idea of triumph, it can also convey exclusivity. It’s no wonder why horses with blue collar backstories competing at elite levels have captured the imagination of those outside our industry on more than one occasion. David, meet Goliath.

It’s time that mainstream audiences realized you need not be an owner of a horse, a trainer, or jockey to delight in the spoils of victory. Racing is not merely a spectator sport. It’s interactive. You simply need a ticket -a bet slip- to go along for the ride, and the fact that it’s not just the horses competing for seven figures this weekend puts an exclamation mark on that point.

BCBC Tournament Players

Again, the BCBC Bonus Boys are fascinating. Take Stephen Thompson, who is known as the “Undertaker” on the betting circuit, as an example. He is from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, where he’s the owner and licensed director of Thompson Funeral Home, Inc, which was started by his great-grandfather in 1890. He fell in love with racing at the tender age of ten, going to the races with his family, and has won entry into the BCBC seven of the last eight years. Stephen says you get so pumped up in these tournaments, but he has to stay “flatlined” to stay focused, and that, should he win, the first check he’s writing is for $100,000 to benefit retired racehorses. “Without them, we have nothing!”

There are two entrants looking to pull off a BC/BCBC double. David Lanzman was hooked on racing after he and a couple of friends snuck under the fence at Hollywood Park as teenagers, having a security guard place what would be winning bets for them. He realized you could make life-changing scores playing the ponies when, with his $400 rent due and …

The World’s Most Beautiful Race Courses

World's most beautiful race courses: From beaches to frozen lakesIf the thunder of hooves and the thrill of the racing doesn’t grab you, the sublime settings surely will.

From the grounds of a 16th-century chateau, to beaches, snow-covered lakes, glorious greensward and a track squeezed among skyscrapers, the sport of kings offers some spectacular venues for racegoers to savor.

Here is a look at some of the most beautiful horse racing locations in the world.

Boasting the world’s first five-star trackside hotel, restaurants and a museum,

Spectacular and timeless, Chantilly racecourse nestles in front of the fairytale 16th-century Chateau de Chantilly amid a tree-lined tract 30 miles north of Paris.

is a cathedral to 21st-century racing.

The grandstand alone is more than a mile long and can host 60,000 spectators. What’s more, there is a rooftop infinity pool.

Since it replaced the Nad Al Sheba racecourse in 2010, Meydan has been home to one of the richest horse races in the world — the Grade 1 Dubai World Cup.