Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Japan

Japanese horse racing posts solid growth despite challengesJapanese horse racing posts solid growth despite challenges

Japanese horse racing recorded strong sales growth in 2020, in spite of economic uncertainties and the coronavirus pandemic. Both central and local horse racing are defying covid-19 challenges out of the race.

Horse racing as usual albeit without fans

The Japan Racing Association (JRA) reported its ninth consecutive year of sales growth with the annual turnover exceeding $28.6 billion, an increase by 103.5% from the previous year. Despite the challenging situation in times of COVID-19, Japanese central horse racing neither rescheduled or canceled a single event but maintained its full 2020 calendar.

The races were held without a spectator for over 7 months between February and October, however, the central horse racing has seen no major impact on overall sales. The cancellation of major racing events outside Japan also contributed to some of the star horses running in domestic races, which made certain races more appealing to fans.

Local horse racing also reported a jump in sales by 31% on a monthly basis, compared to that of the previous year. The stock price of the local Tokyo horse racing plummeted in March last year due to concerns over the negative impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the shares bounced back by October and traded above $56 for the first time since 1994.

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Indiana

“To get 96 racing days in during these unprecedented times is a real credit to the Indiana Horse Racing Commission (IHRC) staff, our horsemen and our very dedicated group of employees,” said Eric Halstrom, vice president and general manager of racing. “When you consider that we did all of that while breaking every handle record on the books makes the season a success by any measure.”

Indiana Grand Racing & Casino completed its 18th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing Thursday, Nov. 18. The abbreviated 96-day season offered 92 days of combined Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing along with four days dedicated directly to the sprinters to set a new record of $198,960,722

IndianaRecord numbers were posted throughout the season. The track recorded its highest single program handle on the Indiana Derby Wednesday, July 8 with a total of $5,979,952 wagered on the 12-race card. The Indiana Derby race alone garnered $1,026,395, which was a single race record for the track. The four-day race period also marked the best week ever in the 18-year history of racing for Indiana Grand with a total of $13,176,192 wagered.

Overall, the track saw an increase of 60.93 percent over 2019. A total of $198,960,722 was wagered from all sources in 2020 compared to $123,635,376 in 2019, which is 31 more percent handle with 26 less days in 2020.

Quarter Horse racing also saw a 17.33 percent increase in 2020. Total handle for Quarter Horse racing in 2020 was 20,143,348.30 compared to $17,168,338 in 2019 with two less all-Quarter Horse days held in 2020 compared to 2019. The track recorded its largest single card handle on an all-Quarter Horse day with $819,708.35 wagered on the Saturday, Aug. 8 program.

The final week of racing also established some records as a total of $3,869,898 was wagered on the final program of the year Thursday, Nov. 19, marking the largest handle on a non-Indiana Derby racing card in the history of the track. In all, a total of six days in 2020 showed handle in excess of $3 million. Only one card all season containing Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing did not eclipse $1 million in total handle, which was a shortened two-race day due to weather cancellation. The total of 91 days with handle in excess of $1 million is also a track record for Indiana Grand.

Racing dates for 2021 will be reviewed and expected to be approved by the IHRC at their monthly meeting in December. Indiana Grand hopes to return to its regular 120- racing season including six days dedicated to Quarter Horse racing.

Source: Indiana Grand

Breeders’ Cup Registers Sixth-Highest Handle in Two-day History

Breeders CupTotal all-sources handle for the two-day Breeders’ Cup Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland was $160,472,894, the sixth-highest total since the Breeders’ Cup expanded to a two-day event in 2007 and an 8% decrease from the 2019 record handle of $174,000,574 at Santa Anita Park.

Breeders’ Cup did not report attendance figures this year at Keeneland with no paid spectators allowed as a COVID-19 safety precaution. Owners and their guests, breeders, participating horsemen, and media were allowed to attend—a group that perhaps numbered in the low thousands.

Despite a sharply reduced crowd, this year’s total handle represented a 7% increase from the 2015 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland…

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Washington

Emerald Downs increases horse racing purses

Emerald Downs in Auburn has announced a 10% purse increase for all races the final three weeks of the 2020 live horse racing season.

The track runs races on Wednesday and Thursday, with the season ending Oct. 29.

Through 30 days of live racing, handle is averaging $1.87 million, up 67% over last year.

Emerald Downs President Phil Ziegler said the purse increase is a result of better than expected handle…

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not Yet

September Derby Brings Bettors, Handle Boost to Racing Economic Totals

Horseplayers wagered more than $3.2 billion in the third quarter. That represents a 12.73% bump from 2019’s figures of $2.92 billion.

At the same time, America’s most wagered race running the first Saturday in September instead of the first Saturday in May resulted in a 29.64% increase in September 2020 wagering. Bettors put down more than $1.039 billion in September, compared to $801.98 million in 2019. A September Derby was a big reason why.

That even came with a decline in Kentucky Derby day wagering, which Churchill Downs attributes to the lack of on-track wagering and a prohibitive favorite in Tiz the Law. The Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes champion lost a fierce stretch battle to Authentic…

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Maryland Racing Industry at Crossroads

Total wagering on the rescheduled, closed-door Preakness Stakes program at Pimlico last Saturday was down nearly 50% from its 2019 renewal, a pandemic-impacted decline similar to that experienced at the Kentucky Derby, which was moved from May to September.

Even in pre-pandemic times, a majority of wagering on horse racing is conducted online, through legal betting platforms like BetPTC.com, TwinSpires, TVG and Xpressbet. Since March, almost all wagering comes via these channels. Betting in person has grown increasingly rare in the internet era, and even more so in 2020. For perspective, of the $369 million bet on races at Laurel Park in 2019, the Maryland Racing Commission’s annual report records that $350.2 million, nearly 95%, came from bettors outside of Maryland…

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not at Little ‘Ole Kentucky Downs

Kentucky Downs enjoys another record-breaking meet with total betting at over $59M on 62 races

By Jennie Rees and Dick Downey
Kentucky Downs 2020 Recap

Even before Saffie Joseph won Wednesday’s eighth race with Sugar Fix on closing day of the RUNHAPPY Meet at Kentucky Downs, the trainer’s thoughts had turned to next year.

“First meet here. I love it,” said Joseph, one of America’s fast-rising trainers who this summer expanded his East Coast base to include Kentucky. “It’s a cool setting, different from what you’re used to seeing in America. It’s kind of like a European track. I’m coming back every year. As long as we have the owners providing the horses, we hope to make this an important part of our year.”

Fergus Galvin, a representative for Qatar Racing’s Sheikh Fahad al Thani, said that Guildsman’s victory in the Grade 3 Franklin-Simpson Stakes on the closing card “certainly made Sheikh Fahad a big fan of Kentucky Downs. He’s already wanting to stock up the stable to point to the meeting next year.”

Kentucky Downs smashed its betting records at the six-date meet with total wagering of $59,828,444 on 62 races, including $9,487,705 on Wednesday’s 10-race finale. The previous record was last year’s $41,239,699 for 50 races over five days….

Kentucky Downs purses since 2011
Year (dates) purses

2020 (6) $12,337,000
2019 (5) $11,520,380
2018 (5) $10,273,630
2017 (5) $8,625,396
2016 (5) $7,923,476
2015 (5) $6,609,355
2014 (5) $4,875,722
2013 (5) $4,150,687
2012 (5) $2,086,650
2011 (4) $796,810

The Economic Impact of the Horse Racing Industry in Just One State

According to information published in the Equibase program at Monmouth Park in 2019:

The total economic impact of the equine industry is $1.1 billion annually.

The industry pays over $160 million in federal, state and local taxes.

176,000 total acres of real estate are in use in New Jersey alone for equine operations.  An additional 46,000 acres produce hay and grain for horses.  An estimated 13,000 jobs are generated just in New Jersey.

The original Monmouth Park racetrack opened in 1870.  The current structure opened on June 19, 2946 and with its desirable location close to the Jersey beaches, it has attracted tens of thousands of visitors each year.

Here is a look at the impact of the horse racing industry in the great state of  Florida.

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Kentucky

Mdspwt Purses between $70,000 and $97,000

Projected autumn purse levels for maiden special weight races on the Kentucky circuit were revealed during a video meeting of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) advisory committee on Tuesday.

Ben Huffman, director of racing at Churchill Downs, said, “We’re going to have two [MSW] purses. We’re going to supercharge [GI Kentucky] Derby week, like we’ve been doing. And that maiden purse Derby week is going to be $97,000. The remaining nine days are going to be $75,000.”

Churchill had closed out its spring/summer season at the $79,000 level for MSW races.

Is Horse Racing Dead? Belmont Park Sees 42% Increase in Average Daily Handle

The New York Racing Association Inc. today announced that the Belmont Park spring/summer meet generated $15,466,198 in average daily handle from all sources, a 42 percent increase over the 2019 spring/summer meet.

Abbreviated to 25-days and held without spectators in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opening of the spring/summer meet on Wednesday, June 3 marked the return of professional sports in New York and was conducted with strict health and safety protocols in place.

Despite running 23 fewer days than in 2019, a 48 percent decrease, all sources handle during the spring/summer meet totaled $386,654,955.

Average field size over the 248 races carded was 8.61, a 23 percent increase over 2019. Five races were taken off the turf due to weather, and all five came on July 10 with the impact of Tropical Storm Fay.

More about Belmont Park Handle: