Canterbury Park plans richest day of Minnesota horse racing this summer

While much of Minnesota was shoveling snow Monday, Canterbury Park provided a glimpse of summer.

The Shakopee horse racing track announced its thoroughbred stakes schedule for the 2019 season, which includes 31 races worth $2.235 million. The track has grouped several of those stakes races on big-event cards scattered throughout the 66-day season.

The Northern Stars Racing Festival, a hit with horseplayers when it was introduced last year, will be June 22 and is anchored by the richest race of the season, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby. The event’s five stakes races also include the $100,000 Lady Canterbury and the $100,000 Mystic Lake Mile.

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Minnesota horse racing

The Northern Stars festival generated $2.068 million in wagering last summer, a Canterbury Park record…

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not Yet in No. California

Golden Gate Fields concluded its 2018 Fall Meet in strong fashion on Sunday, Dec. 9, as the track posted a robust 19 percent year to year gain in all sources pari-mutuel handle over the course of 30 racing days. The positive increase mirrors results in all sources handle achieved at this year’s Summer and Winter/Spring Meets, and further underscores the positive changes taking place as Golden Gate Fields now looks forward to its 2018-19 Winter/Spring Meet opener on Wednesday, Dec. 26.

Increases in out of state wagering and off-track betting helped contribute to a total Fall Meet handle of $99.7 million, well above the $83.6 million wagered in 2017.

“We had another great meet,” said Golden Gate Fields Vice President and General Manager, David Duggan. “We, first and foremost, greatly appreciate the support of our loyal fans and horseplayers. Additionally, the horsemen have been working tirelessly as have our front-side staff.

“At the end of the day, it takes a great team to make a successful racing product and we have a great team here. We have improved our product in many ways this year and we look forward to continued progress in 2019.”

Jonathon Wong was the leading trainer for the third meet in a row, making 28 trips to the Winner’s Circle. Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer finished second in the trainer standings with 15 wins.

“I give the credit to all of my help, my owners, and the horses,” said Wong. “2018 was a great year for our team. My grooms, exercise riders and assistants work their tails off every day. The owners let me put the horses in the right spots and luckily, many of our horses performed well in the afternoon.”

William “Billy” Antongeorgi III topped the jockey standings with 36 victories, one more than Abel Cedillo. The accomplishment marks Antongeorgi’s first-ever riding title at Golden Gate Fields.

“Billy works so hard,” said jockey agent Fernando “Shoes” Navarro, who has represented Antongeorgi since 2015. “He has a great work ethic and great personality. He has that ‘it’ factor as a rider. I’m really happy for him. He wasn’t in the last race of the meet (on Sunday), so we watched it together and it was emotional when it was official and we had won the riding title. We hugged and congratulated one another.”

With the its upcoming Winter/Spring Meet running from Dec. 26 through June 9, Golden Gate Fields has announced an increase in maiden special weight and allowance race purses, while also bumping up bottom level claiming and maiden claiming purses to a minimum of $10,000.

 

Former Miss World Rosanna Davison Promotes Horse Racing

When questioned by some of her followers as to how she could promote a horse-racing event, Rosanna replied: “I don’t claim to follow a vegan lifestyle.”

Back in July 2016, Rosanna sent a letter to Dublin City Council in support of a motion being put forward to ban the wild-animal acts.

She wrote: “Animals are not ours to abuse for human amusement — and it’s simply unacceptable for astonishing animals like elephants, lions, and tigers to be deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them.”

The Irish beauty has also teamed up with animal rights organisation PETA several times — including a Vegans Are Red Hot ad, where she posed nude surrounded only by chilli peppers, and getting kitted out in a short dress made of lettuce leaves, left…

Boom Time for California Horse Racing

Santa Anita Park’s 2018-19 Winter Meeting got off to a record-breaking start on Wednesday, as the track posted an all-sources pari-mutuel handle of $20,491,016, a 19 percent increase over a year ago and an all-time opening day record.

Wednesday’s opening day crowd of 41,373 contributed to an on-track handle of $3,463,535, a five percent increase over last year’s $3.3 million. On-track attendance was up year to year three percent.

In measuring the significance of Wednesday’s numbers, the last time Santa Anita opened on a Wednesday was 2012, when all-sources handle was $13.4 million, making yesterday’s handle of $20.4 million a whopping 52 percent increase. On track attendance on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012 was 27,273, making yesterday’s 41,373 a 52 percent increase.

Winter Meet at Santa Anita Park to See Purse Increases

Santa Anita apron

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With its traditional Winter Meet opener fast approaching on Wednesday, Dec. 26, Santa Anita Park has announced substantial purse increases for all of its overnight races, with some categories getting as much as an 11 percent boost when compared to purse levels at the track’s recently concluded Autumn Meet.

Santa Anita’s Winter Meet Condition Book One will be available to horsemen at santaanita.com on Tuesday, with hard copies available in the Racing Office this Wednesday, Dec. 5.

In addition to higher purses, horsemen will also find increased benefits for those running in races with purse levels of $30,000 or lower, as purse distribution in those races has been adjusted to better compensate horses that finish fourth and fifth. Percentage of purse distribution in those races, from first through fifth, will now be 55, 20, 12, 8 and 5.

“The overall increase in purse money is due to increased handle over the last year,” said P.J. Campo, Vice President, Racing for The Stronach Group. “We’ve adjusted the purses for the mid-level races in order to try to increase participation and field size, which drives handle. With these and other changes in place, we’re looking forward to a great Winter Meet starting the day after Christmas.”

Other changes, designed to increase field size, come in the first condition allowance category. Instead of being restricted to horses who are non-winners of $10,000 other than maiden, claiming or starter, horses will now be eligible if they’ve won $15,000 “other than.”

This adjustment has been made to entice more European and out of state horses to participate. Additionally, for the first time ever, horses that win first condition allowance races at Golden Gate Fields will now be exempted and be eligible to run again at the same non-winner’s level at Santa Anita, which will hopefully serve as an incentive to Bay Area horsemen to ship south for substantially more money.

For additional information regarding Santa Anita’s 2018-19 Winter Meet, please visit santaanita.com, or contact Santa Anita Racing Director Dan Eidson at (626) 574-6352.

Source: Press Release

Belinda Stronach Hires for New Entertainment Division

Belinda Stronach, Chairman & President of The Stronach Group, has tapped entertainment and hospitality vet Jimmy Vargas to lead the company’s newly created entertainment division. As part of The Stronach Group’s mission to modernize the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing by exciting and energizing the next generation of fans, Vargas will curate unique and engaging experiences across all of The Stronach Group facilities. From concerts and festivals to digital innovations, the focus on entertainment and guest experience is a key driver to The Stronach Group’s business.

Since joining The Stronach Group in the spring of 2018, Vargas has produced the InfieldFest featuring Post Malone, Odesza, 21 Savage and Frank Walker at the legendary Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as the inaugural Clubhouse Festival featuring Steve Aoki & Tyga at the 33rd Jim McKay Maryland Million at Laurel Park Racetrack. Vargas’ current focus is on delivering an incredible entertainment experience at the 3rd annual Pegasus World Cup Invitational taking place on January 26th at Gulfstream Park, The Stronach Group’s facility located just north of Miami.

Pegasus statue at Gulfstream Park“I’m excited to join The Stronach Group and help lead the evolution of its entertainment program, across all of its properties, and deliver world-class entertainment experiences with marquee talent,” said Jimmy Vargas, Executive Vice President, Entertainment. “We want to leverage the passion and energy of our horse racing fan base with the next generation of fans, having them all experience a new level of entertainment from the moment they enter our venues.”

Jimmy Vargas is one of the entertainment industry’s top talents, with 20 years of experience in the experiential, communications, broadcast, digital and marketing arenas. Prior to joining The Stronach Group, Vargas was Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Miami, FL-based powerhouse MMG Entertainment & Hospitality, where he was the driving force behind some of the most successful and world-renowned brands; LIV at the Fontainebleau, LIV at Hard Rock Stadium, Story, Komodo, Komodo Lounge and OTL. In this role, Vargas oversaw all entertainment marketing initiatives for the venues, including: event and talent booking, promotions, content creation, sales, production and brand partnerships. Working beside the company’s CEO since its inception, Vargas was responsible for growing the company from one venue in year one at $18M in gross revenue, to a complete and diversified hospitality portfolio of six venues with gross revenues exceeding $85M annually.

Among the hundreds of special events Vargas oversaw from conception to completion were the annual Fontainebleau Miami New Year’s Eve events featuring A-list talents including; Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Drake and The Weeknd. Vargas also collaborated on national broadcast partnerships for events such as the BET Hip Hop Awards, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show for CBS Broadcast and LIV pop-up series at major EDM Festivals including TomorrowWorld, Electric Zoo and Sunset Music Festival. Upon execution of the AXE Lounge Partnership for Super Bowl XLIV with Jennifer Lopez, Vargas was invited to recreate the event the following year for the Super Bowl in Dallas.

Prior to MMG, Vargas was a Partner in Gorillas Lifestyle Marketing (overseeing strategic experiential marketing efforts for MOCA, Lexus, Pepsi and Microsoft); Creative Marketing Director for the Opium Group Nightlife & Hospitality (one of South Florida’s most successful hospitality groups); and helped to launch Gen Art Miami (the nation’s leading arts and entertainment organization in support of emerging talent in fashion, film, music and the visual arts).

Vargas holds a dual degree in Telecommunications and Marketing from the University of Florida. He lives in Miami, Florida with his wife and two sons.

Source: Press Release

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Reports Gains

Del mar chantal billboardFollowing on the heels of a stellar summer season, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., completed its fifth fall meet Sunday, highlighted by gains in total handle and four weeks of safe racing. All sources wagering for the 16-day session totaled $165,289,183, compared to the 2017 total handle of $154,069,710, an increase of 7.3 percent.

“The fall meet has found its niche and that’s important for the overall health of the California racing calendar,” said DMTC CEO Joe Harper. “All in all, we are pleased with the results and when you combine them with the summer and our continued efforts to provide the safest possible environment for our horses and riders, it was a terrific year.”

Del Mar’s 2018 fall racing festival had several standout performances, including a smart victory in the Grade I Hollywood Derby by Peter Brant’s Raging Bull on closing Saturday, then an equally impressive triumph by Uni – owned by Michael Dubb, Robert LaPenta, Head of Plains partners and Bethlehem Stable – the next day in the Grade I Matriarch. Both of those Eastern-based horses are trained by the country’s top conditioner, Chad Brown, and both were ridden by former three-time Del Mar riding champion Joel Rosario.

Trainer Peter Miller continued his hot run at Del Mar by winning his fourth fall conditioning crown with 15 victories, while jockey Drayden Van Dyke captured his first fall title with 17 wins. The pair had swept the 2018 summer honors previously with 31 scores for Miller and 42 for Van Dyke during the 36-day stand.

Del Mar will resume racing on Wednesday, July 17 for its showcase summer season, the 80th in its long and popular seaside run.

Source: Del Mar

Santa Anita Sees Rise in Handle – Autumn 2018 Meet

With a staggering $6,746,114 in “new money” wagered, Santa Anita’s closing day 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot amounted to a total of $7,888,308 by fifth race post time, ensuring a massive all sources pari-mutuel pool of $18,948,679 on Sunday, which helped the track post increases in both on-track and all sources handle for the 22-day Autumn Meet.

With 22 racing days producing $206.7 million in overall pari-mutuel handle, all sources average daily handle was up seven percent compared to last year. A total of $23.7 million was wagered on-track, which marked a three percent average daily handle increase over 2017. (With 19 racing days last year, all sources handle was $167.3 million, while last year’s on-track take was $19.8 million).

A parade of short priced horses on closing day resulted in 10,466 winning tickets in the 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six, with each ticket returning $601.10.

The Breeders’ Cup results in Kentucky once again underscored the depth of equine talent at Santa Anita, as no less than five Southern California-based horses tasted Breeders’ Cup glory over the two-day World Championships on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, Gary and Mary West’s Game Winner, trained by Bob Baffert, won the $2 million Juvenile, which followed a win here in the Grade I American Pharoah Stakes Sept. 29.

On Saturday, Peter Miller pulled off an incredible year-to-year double, as Stormy Liberal and Roy H each won their respective races, the Turf Sprint and the Sprint, for the second year in a row while based at San Luis Rey Downs. Both horses are owned by Gary Hartunian’s Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen, LLC. Stormy Liberal used a win in the Grade III Eddie D Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course Sept. 28 as his final Breeders’ Cup prep, while Roy H again struck Breeders’ Cup gold following a win in the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Oct. 6.

Trainer Michael McCarthy, a graduate of Arcadia High School, took Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with the Santa Anita-based City of Light. Owned by Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren, City of Light won last year’s Grade I Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26 as well as the Grade I Triple Bend Stakes here on March 10.

John Sadler put an exclamation point on the day Saturday, as Accelerate, owned by Hronis Racing, took the $6 million Classic. Based at The Great Race Place, Accelerate won three out of his five Grade I victories this year in Arcadia; the Santa Anita Handicap on March 10, the Gold Cup at Santa Anita on May 26 and the Awesome Again here on Sept. 29.

Flavien Prat, who scored a stakes double by winning both the Grade II Goldikova Stakes and the Twilight Derby on closing day, finished as the meet’s leading rider with 20 wins, two better than a resurgent Rafael Bejarano. In the trainer’s division Jerry Hollendorfer and Peter Miller dead-heated atop the standings with 15 Autumn Meet wins, one clear of Doug O’Neill’s 14.

On-track attendance figures for the 22-day season totaled 158,000, compared to 137,000 attendees in the 2017 season, which had three fewer racing days.

Santa Anita’s traditional Winter Meet will kick off the day after Christmas, on Wednesday, Dec. 26. For additional information, please visit www.santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

Source: Santa Anita

Lady Aurelia Lights Up Bid Board at $7.5 Million

Is Horse Racing Dead? I Don’t Think So.

Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings went to $7.5 million to purchase full interest in the European champion Lady Aurelia during Fasig-Tipton’s The November Sale. She was consigned as hip 200 by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency.

Source: Lady Aurelia Lights Up Bid Board at $7.5 Million

Off-track horse race gambling coming to Horsetown USA next month

“If it opens, the Norco enterprise would be California’s 12th satellite horse-race betting venue, Marten said. State law allows up to 45, including 15 in each of three regions — north, central and south, he said

It is no accident The Derby Room is going into the building of a former restaurant, which is being remodeled at a cost of $500,000.

Zolnier said it will be more than a place to bet on Santa Anita and Los Alamitos races, or the Kentucky Derby. It will be a sports bar and restaurant, he said, with 80 percent to 90 percent of sales coming from food and drinks. Zolnier said he views the gambling element as a way to pull people into the eatery…”

THE DERBY ROOM

Location: 3230 Hamner Ave., Norco

Operator: California Horse Racing and Sports, LLC

Open date: Aiming for mid-December

Employees: 30 to 40. Job seekers may apply at thederbyroom.com

Is horse racing dead?  Not in California

Press-Enterprise Full coverage: Off-track horse race gambling coming to Norco after false start