Forbes’ Top 10 Horse Racing Tracks In The World

30th Horse Dies At Santa Anita; Hall Of Fame Trainer Banned From TrackDespite the recent negative publicity, the world remains fascinated by horse racing, billionaires continue to invest in championship thoroughbreds, and the racetracks around the globe still remain among the most elite. Here is my selection of the top 10 racetracks in the world:

Churchill Downs, Kentucky (opened in 1875, hosts the Kentucky Derby)

Ascot, United Kingdom (opened in 1711, hosts The Gold Cup, King George VI) …

Top 10 Horse Racing Tracks In The World

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A Day at the Races with the Riverhead Rotary

Column: A day at the races with the Riverhead RotaryI don’t recall the exact moment I saw the field at Shea Stadium for the first time. I was too young for any vivid memories. But I still recall that wow factor of walking through the tunnel and seeing the field. Shea Stadium is long gone, of course, and by now I’m old enough and have attended enough baseball games that the initial thrill has faded.

I was thinking back to that youthful excitement last Friday when, for the first time, I walked into Belmont Park, the grand race track in Elmont that has been home to horse racing for more than a century. I’ve watched many of the big races for the Belmont Stakes over the past 20 years or so, but had never been to the race track in person.

It was an experience long overdue, and something I’ve talked about doing for years.

So when a letter arrived in my mailbox at work from Ed Goldstein of the Riverhead Rotary inviting me to attend an event called “A Day at the Races,” I jumped at the opportunity. Mr. Goldstein noted that he had read an earlier column of mine on sports betting and thought I might be interested in checking out horse racing…

Group Seeks To Infuse Youth Into Aging Horse Racing Industry

young attractive British racegoer“Young people can bring new creative ideas to the sport,” said Jaime Roth, who runs her family’s LNJ Foxwoods stable. “Are there bad things? Yeah. But for the most part, it’s a great sport. We’re dependent on the future and young women are a big part of the future.”

Bussanich firmly believes “if we don’t get these young people into the sport, we’re not going to have horse racing.” A 2016 study noted the average horse racing fan is 63 , — younger only than golf — and decision makers, owners and trainers are still prominently older white men.

“We constantly sit around board room tables and say, ‘How are we going to get more young people involved in horse racing?’” owner and Thoroughbred Ideas Foundation president and CEO said Craig Bernick said. “I’m the youngest person around the table a lot of times and I’m 41.”

Nexus is full of people horse racing executives yearn to attract: Bussanich grew up in New Jersey and developed her affection for the sport from going to a track in Florida at age 6; Sutton fell in love when filly Rags to Riches won the 2007 Belmont and Nexus member relations director Mary Cage was hooked by Smarty Jones’ underdog story during the 2004 Triple Crown.

Horse racing is so often a passion passed down generationally. The Nexus co-founders are trying to break down what they see as a high …

Fixed Odds. Free Data. Horse Racing Industry weighs changes to compete with sports gambling

The sport has a long tradition of pari-mutuel wagering where the odds fluctuate and nothing is set until the horses leave the starting gate. But with the legalization of sports gambling in the United States and its gradually expanding implementation around the country, adding fixed-odds wagering could be a way for the horse racing to adapt and compete in the changing landscape.

“When we had a monopoly, we certainly benefited from that, but it made us very lazy and it’s time to get moving,” said Craig Bernick of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation that recently raised the possibility of adding fixed-odds betting in horse racing. “If we don’t adjust, I personally think sports betting has a very good chance to destroy most of the horse racing gambling because the price, the familiarity that everyday people have with those sports that they grew up with, the free access to data and the type of bets allowed all favor sports betting over horse racing. We really need to innovate.”

Rich Nilsen’s article about FREE horse racing data

This isn’t the first time horse racing has needed to fend off challenges to its longstanding betting monopoly. There was the addition of lotteries across the United States, then came the proliferation of casino gambling that in some states partially funded horse racing and gave a boost to a fading business model.

The impact of legalized sports betting seems to be heading in the opposite direction.

Even though places like New Jersey’s Monmouth Park have championed the cause and embraced it, it’s not expected to be a financial windfall for horse racing.

Century Mile the horse racing future in Edmonton

Bye, bye Northlands Park. Hello happiness.

For several years, horsemen have been unhappy campers at the century-long home of horse racing in Edmonton. But not now. Not as they get ready for Opening Day of a new era of horse racing.

The first-ever thoroughbred race card at Century Mile goes to the post Sunday afternoon at 1:45 with high hopes of good times ahead for the industry.

“We all saw Northlands deteriorate to the point it was beyond sad,” said trainer Tim Rycroft, a veteran of 30 years on the track including a lengthy spell at Toronto’s Woodbine until returning to his hometown 13 years ago.

“You could tell the writing was on the wall. Nobody seemed to care there toward the end. It was once a really nice thriving place with a proud tradition,” he said of the track that once owned the title of being the per capita betting capital of the horseracing world.

“They were just letting it slide into the abyss,” he said.

“I loved it at Northlands Park. It was a great racetrack. Over the years it just deteriorated and deteriorated and the horsemen were told one B.S. story after another. It became terrible the way the horsemen were treated.

“They let the barn areas go to hell. Instead of fixing bathrooms and stuff their idea was just to slap a piece of plywood on the door and put up a big closed sign.

Britain’s Jockey Club has enlisted Marvel comic book artists …

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Jockey Club has enlisted Marvel comic book artists to give the superhero treatment to some of the country’s all-time wonder horses in a bid to win over a new generation of racing fans.

The 24-page book “Magnificent Racehorses”, penned by artists from the stable that created the likes of Black Panther and Spider-Man, was being published ahead of the Grand National at Aintree.

It tells the stories of 10 crowd favorites of the past including three times National winner Red Rum, super stallion Frankel and Cheltenham Gold Cup great Desert Orchid.

“Horseracing is the second biggest spectator sport in Britain and we want to ensure a new generation of fans are constantly discovering the drama and excitement of its stories,” said Jockey Club Racecourses chief executive Paul Fisher.

The Jockey Club, founded early in the 18th century, runs Liverpool’s Aintree racecourse as well as other leading venues including Cheltenham, Epsom Downs and Newmarket.

Tiger Roll, last year’s National winner on a photo finish, was the 7/2 favorite to repeat the victory at Aintree in a 40-horse field over 30 daunting fences.

Last year’s race was watched by an estimated worldwide television audience of 600 million.

Barry Irwin Discusses What Horse Racing Needs

by author Barry Irwin

In the last 31 of my 50 years in horse racing, I have earned my livelihood forming racing partnerships. I have been able to do this because, in spite of the obstacles and challenges, enough people still want to race horses, so I have been able to continue with my enterprise.

I am involved in one segment of an industry that provides many folks and entities the opportunity to also make a living with Thoroughbreds.

But the number of people interested in the game is shrinking.

As a keen observer as well as a participant, I feel confident in saying that the ongoing contraction of the game is a direct result of cheating by the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs that tilt the playing field in favor of crooked trainers and owners interested in dominating over their rivals by illegal methods.

All of the enterprises in which folks are involved within the industry: breeding, pinhooking, sales companies, racetracks, training, writing, advertising, acting as agents–all of it–is dependent on one simple thing: the integrity of the race. Horseplayers have to feel good about the honesty of a contest to want to bet on the outcome…

As horse death toll grows at Santa Anita, fans and foes of racing see a hard battle over sport’s future

The CHRB has called a special meeting Friday, April 12, at Santa Anita, and could take action to move racing dates to another track for the rest of this year’s season, which is scheduled to continue through Sunday, June 23.

Larry Levine, a Los Angeles-based political consultant who said he has been a horse racing fan since visiting Agua Caliente racetrack in Tijuana with his father at age 14, said he would be surprised if legislators put a racing-ban measure on the ballot, a move that could mean lost state revenue and attracting the ire of racing supporters. So any such move, he said, would be up to activists.

“In California, it comes down to ‘Do you have enough money to pay the signature-gatherers the $2 or $4 or $6 or $10 they want (per signature)?,” Levine said.

“Then it comes down to the political moxie of the industry to fight back,” he added. “Nobody can show me (the racing industry) has shown a lot of political moxie in recent years.”

But the racing industry nationwide, and related industries and labor groups in California, would spend money to protect their interests in a major racing state. Levine said such pro-racing spending would make any racing ban proposition “a very expensive campaign.”

The problem for those arguing for keeping racing, Levine said, is “How do you overcome the emotions (about) a dead horse?”

The 23rd and most recent fatal breakdown during the current Santa Anita season, which started on Wednesday, Dec. 26, occurred in the San Simeon Stakes on the hillside turf course Sunday, March 31, when the 5-year-old gelding Arms Runner fractured his right foreleg as the horses crossed the main track near the top of the stretch. Arms Runner and jockey Martin Pedroza fell, taking La Sardane and rider Ruben Fuentes down with them. Arms Runner had to be eunthanized

Senator Feinstein calls for suspension of races at Santa Anita

The LA Times reports:

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein called for the suspension of races at Santa Anita until an investigation into what has caused 23 horses to die at the track since late December is complete.

In a letter sent to California Horse Racing Board chairman Chuck Winner on Tuesday, the Democratic senator wrote she is “appalled that almost two dozen horses have died in just four months.”

“I believe that racing at Santa Anita should be suspended until the cause or causes of these deaths can be fully investigated,” Feinstein wrote. “I also ask for more information about what the California Horse Racing Board is doing to both investigate this matter and address some of the concerns that these incidents have rightly raised.”

Feinstein asked the CHRB whether it was considering other changes to improve the safety of horses after it agreed to phase out race-day medications and limit the use of whips on horses.

“While these are positive initial steps, please let me know whether the Board is considering other actions that have been proposed by trainers and animal welfare advocates, including the complete elimination of medications such as Lasix and the use of synthetic track surfaces,” Feinstein wrote. “In your view, would these or other steps be reasonable measures to prevent horse injuries and death?”

Rep. Judy Chu (D) called for a congressional hearing and investigation into the treatment of horses Monday, a day after Arms Runner became the 23rd horse to die at Santa Anita since the start of the track’s winter/spring meet on Dec. 26. The track reopened Friday after being closed to racing for nearly a month after 21 horses died over a 10-week span.

Santa Anita Park whip ban looks like a panicked response to a welfare crisis

From the UK’s Guardian:

The first, an immediate ban on the use of all race-day medication including the anti-bleeding drug Lasix, has since been watered down and will start with the two-year-old crop in 2020. The second, though, seems likely to apply from Friday: a ban on the use of the whip by jockeys for anything but “corrective safety measures”.

If so, Santa Anita will be the first track in a major racing nation to ban the whip for encouragement at any stage of a race. It will also set a precedent that racing regulators around the world will struggle to ignore. If Santa Anita can get by without the whip in the closing stages of a race, why can’t everyone?

The British Horseracing Authority will be watching with interest. “We talk regularly to our colleagues in other countries where racing is held,” a spokesperson said this week. “Events have moved quite quickly in recent weeks in California and we look forward to catching up at the next opportunity to hear more of their plans.”   more…