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:

How horse racing can appeal to a younger crowd

The Sport can overcome its ugly past

Let’s be clear. I wasn’t planning on liking horse racing.

I spent the first four weeks of the shutdown in a hazy search for sports, looking for signs of it everywhere — in old NBA classics, Madden simulations, the car chases on TV from which I couldn’t un-glue myself.

Growing up in Edmonton, Alberta, I made the three-hour trek to Calgary Stampede parties multiple summers in a row without ever giving a single thought to buying tickets to the rodeo. Horse racing was even less than an afterthought.

Even though I thought it would be tedious, maybe a little charming but ultimately not for me, I was ready to play the ponies. It’s the kind of thing you do early in a relationship, when you’re still pretending to be open to new experiences.

And then a dozen beautiful horses leaped from the gates, and I was entranced…

Read how she got hooked on horse racing

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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