Eleven Sires Dominate at 2018 Keeneland Fall Sales

copyright DarbyAmerica

With 26 yearlings selling for $1 million plus in the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, 11 sires with three or more sold in Book 1 accounted for 465 yearlings or 47% of the number cataloged in Book 1.

Is Horse Racing Dead?  Apparently not if the Keeneland sales in Lexington KY are any indication.  Check out the full Blood-Horse story below.

Source: Eleven Sires Create Book 1 Surge at Keeneland

Monumental 2018 Travers Day Handle for NYRA

Horse Racing Thriving in Saratoga

A blockbuster Travers Day card, highlighted by Catholic Boy’s victory in the 149th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers, generated all-sources handle of $52,086,597, shattering the previous record set in 2015 by 4.9 percent.

Saratoga paddock copyright Agameofskill.comAll-sources handle, which exceeded the $50 million mark on Travers Day for the first time ever, surpassed the 2017 all-sources number by 8.8 percent.

 

On-track handle was $11,466,264, an increase of 5.6 percent over 2017, and just shy of 2015’s $11,472,451.

A paid crowd of 49,418 witnessed Catholic Boy put away European invader Mendelssohn in the stretch to draw clear for a four-length victory in the Runhappy Travers, giving Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano his record sixth victory in the race.

The Runhappy Travers was one of six Grade 1 stakes on Travers Day, which also featured the Grade 1, $1 million Sword Dancer, the Grade 1, $700,000 Personal Ensign, the Grade 1, $600,000 Forego, the Grade 1, $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina and the Grade 1 $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens presented by Runhappy. The Travers Day card was rounded out by the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa.

The 2018 summer meet at historic Saratoga Race Course continues through Labor Day, Monday, September 3. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit NYRA.com.

2018 Travers Day
August 25, 2018
All-sources: $52,086,597
On-track: $11,466,264

2017 Travers Day
August 26, 2017
All-sources: $47,870,987
On-track: $10,862,095

2016 Travers Day
August 27, 2016
All-sources: $45,596,367
On-track: $10,778,993

2015 Travers Day
August 29, 2015
All-sources: $49,668,754
On-track: $11,472,451

2018 Woodward Stakes Day Handle also shows Big Increase

A strong card featuring four graded stakes on the final Saturday of the 2018 meet – highlighted by Yoshida’s victory against a
full field of 14 in the 65th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward – generated an all-sources handle record of $31,030,034, easily eclipsing the previous Woodward Day record set in 2017 by 11.3 percent.

On-track handle was $5,895,252, an increase of eight percent over 2017.

The record-setting day came a week after the New York Racing Association established a new record for all-sources handle on Travers Day with $52,086,597, marking the first time all-sources wagering on Travers Day topped $50 million.

Woodward Day also featured Raging Bull’s impressive win in the 111th running of the Grade 3, $300,000 Saranac, part of an effort that saw Chad Brown set a new Saratoga single-meet wins records for a trainer, with the conditioner eclipsing the previous mark of 40. Sippican Harbor, at odds of 16-1, won the Grade 1, $350,000 Spinaway and earned an all-fees paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Following Yoshida’s win in his dirt debut, Lady Montdore ended the day with a victory in the Grade 2, $250,000 Glens Falls.
The 2018 summer meet at historic Saratoga Race Course concludes Labor Day, Monday, September 3 with an 11-race card highlighted by the Grade 1, $350,000 Hopeful for 2-year-olds and the Grade 2, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap on the turf.

Source: NYRA

2018 Del Mar Summer Meet Surges

Horse Racing is Alive and Well in So. California

All sources handle in 2018 rose 6.8 percent to $13.44 million per day as Del Mar completed a highly successful summer season – its 79th – on Labor Day Monday. The wagering increase follows a 5.1 percent gain in all-sources handle in 2017, which averaged $12.58 million. The strength of the 2018 summer racing program and the increase in field size helped drive a 10.8 percent increase in wagering by out-of-state patrons and a 14.1 percent increase in betting by California ADW customers.

Drew Brees at Del Mar

Drew Brees at Del Mar

“Across the board, we’ve hit all our marks with a wonderful display of teamwork in a group effort,” said DMTC CEO Joe Harper. “Our owners, our trainers, our jockeys – everyone is pulling their oars in the same direction. It is amazing what positive things can happen when we all get on the same page to put on a first-rate show. The bar was set very high in 2017, but here we’ve gone and jumped far over it in a very gratifying summer.

Field size, which averaged 8.7 runners per race, rose again over the seven-week season, just as it had the year before. Del Mar’s highly successful “Ship & Win” program drew 105 new runners to the track from out-of-state. Since its inception in 2011, the “S & W” plan has lured more than 1,200 runners to Del Mar.

“The response from our horsemen and horsewomen to our program at Del Mar has been just terrific,” said executive vice president for racing Tom Robbins. “We have a wonderful partnership going right now and we’ll continue to work to make it even better.

“And our track crews – headed by Leif Dickinson on our turf course and Dennis Moore on our main track – have been nothing short of exceptional. Their superior work has allowed us to conduct highly competitive and safe racing throughout the summer and we all owe them a huge thank you. We dedicate significant off-season time and resources to preparing the surfaces for their best and it is heartening to see such positive results.”

Accelerate the Horse of the Meet

Foremost among the exceptional racing that unfolded over the course of the summer was a dominant win by Hronis Racing’s Accelerate in the $1-million TVG Pacific Classic. The Hronis outfit and their trainer, John Sadler, also cut loose one of America’s rising stars in Catalina Cruiser, who pulled off a stakes double with impressive tallies in the San Diego and Pat O’Brien. Then there were a series of 2-year-old stars led by the Bob Baffert-trained and Gary and Mary West-owned Game Winner, victorious in the Grade I Futurity. Bellafina, conditioned by Simon Callaghan and carrying the silks of Kaleem Shah, was the meeting’s top juvenile filly, winning the Grade I Debutante.

Metaboss at Del Mar
copyright Gary Tasich

“On behalf of the California horse owners, we couldn’t be more pleased with the results at Del Mar”, said Nick Alexander, chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California. “We congratulate the Del Mar management team and staff on a job well done. It was an outstanding summer and we look forward to returning later this fall.”

Del Mar’s spectacular presentation of the Breeders’ Cup in 2017 earned it a return performance of the championship event in 2021, an announcement that was made at the track in August. The track will now take a short respite before returning for its fifth fall race meeting between November 9 and December 2.

Source: Del Mar

Ellis Park’s strong finish sets stage for 2019 meet

Ellis-Park logoIs Horse Racing Dead?  Not in Henderson, KY

Ellis Park’s strong finish sets stage for 2019 meet.

Evansville Courier & Press Full coverage: Ellis Park’s strong finish sets stage for 2019 meet

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Louisiana

Louisiana horse racingLouisiana Horse Racing Gets Purse Increases …. Again

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to announce its third purse increase of the 2018 Thoroughbred racing season. Effective Saturday, September 8, an additional $2,000 was added for all races published in the condition book.

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs had previously acknowledged an increase in overnight race purses which went into effect on June 30.  All overnight races, up to and including $12,500, were increased by $1,500. All other purses were raised by $1,000.  On July 19, purses for each of the six stakes for accredited Louisiana-breds on Louisiana Cup Day were increased by $10,000. That announcement was made in partnership with the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA).

“Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to announce a purse increase for the remainder of the 2018 Thoroughbred meet,” said David Heitzmann, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Directory of Racing. “Our Louisiana horsemen have been extremely loyal and steadfast in their support of our live racing season. We are glad to be able to reward them and create added opportunities for Louisiana racing.”

The 84-day Thoroughbred meet began on Saturday, May 5 and will continue through Wednesday, September 26.  Live racing takes place Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and Saturday with a 3:15 p.m. (Central) post time. For more information on the current racing season and special events, visit https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-louisiana-downs/racing.

Source: Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

 

Is Horse Racing Dead?  No it’s not.  Check out these positive stories throughout the horse racing industry

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in California

Positive Reports from Earlier in the Year at Santa Anita

With a closing day Pick 6 pool of $6,022,040 adding an exclamation point to the conclusion of Santa Anita’s Winter/Spring Meet, all sources pari-mutuel handle for the 102-day run dating back to Dec. 26, exceeded the $1 billion mark, an eight percent increase over a year ago. With overall on-track attendance showing a one percent increase, that day’s all sources handle of $18,534,801, which included a near-$10 million increase over the corresponding date from a year ago, helped to contribute to a meet-end handle total of $1,018,268,136.

Santa Anita San Gabriel

copyright Cheryl Ann Quigley

Due to a more than $75 million increase in overall handle, Santa Anita announced a purse increase of 10 percent, which was effective June 1, 2018 through closing day, and which facilitated in attracting larger, more competitive fields to close the meet out.

“We’ve said this consistently, our customers are the economic engine that drives our business,” said Tim Ritvo, Chief Operating Officer for The Stronach Group (TSG). “We want to sincerely thank all of our fans, those here on-track and around the country for supporting our racing in such a substantial way from late December through today.

“We also want to thank the owners and trainers and all of our staff for their support and cooperation. We have many stake holders and together, we feel we can accomplish great things and build upon what we’ve been able to establish these past six months.

“Looking forward, our goals are to provide safe surfaces and larger, more attractive fields to bet on. We’ve very optimistic for the future and we look forward to welcoming everyone back for our Autumn Meet in late September.”

Hammerle Credits Turf Superintendent Martinez and Crew
Santa Anita’s Vice President, Racing and Racing Secretary, Rick Hammerle was quick to acknowledge the pivotal role Santa Anita’s turf course played in the Winter/Spring Meet’s overall success.

“We ran 70 more races on the grass than we did over the same time frame a year ago and we’ve got to give our Turf Superintendent Jesse Martinez and his crew a ton of credit,” said Hammerle. “Our customers want larger, competitive fields and grass racing really helps us to provide that. Without a doubt, the MVP’s of this meet are the main track and turf crews who gave us safe and consistent surfaces for the entire six-month season.

“To run as often as we did on the main track and turf, you need great people. Right from the top, with our Track Superintendent Dennis Moore overseeing everything, to Jesse and his guys, they really made this happen. Without their dedication and work ethic, and the commitment of their staff, we would not have been able to present as many turf races as we did this season and Santa Anita management is indebted to all of them.”

Highlights from the 2017-18 Winter/Spring Meet
Dec. 26—Opening Day
Total Handle: $18.3 million
Attendance: 40,023
City of Light, trained by Michael McCarthy, took the Grade I Malibu Stakes under Drayden Van Dyke. The Grade I La Brea went to Jerry Hollendorfer’s Unique Bella, who was ridden by Mike Smith.

Feb. 18—Bob Baffert’s Justify debuts in a seven furlong maiden special weight, winning by 9 ½ lengths under Drayden Van Dyke.

March 10—Santa Anita Handicap Day
Total Handle: $17.2 million
Attendance: 17,377
Accelerate, trained by John Sadler and ridden by Victor Espinoza, wins the Big ‘Cap by 5 ½ lengths. McCarthy’s City of Light takes the Grade I Triple Bend under Van Dyke by 1 ½ lengths. The Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile goes to Phil D’Amato’sBowies Hero, who won by a half length under Corey Nakatani.

March 11—Justify, in his second start, stretches out to a flat mile and defeats allowance company by 6 ½ lengths under Mike Smith.

April 7—Santa Anita Derby Day
Total Handle: $24.1 million
Attendance: 39,023
Justify remains unbeaten in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby, winning by three lengths under Smith. Trainer Bill Spawr’s Midnight Bisou, also ridden by Smith, takes the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks by 3 ½ lengths.

Spring portion of meet begins on April 13 and consists of 42 racing days, through June 24.

May 5—Kentucky Derby Day
Total Handle: $19.8 million
Attendance: 26,121
Justify becomes the 18th horse to use the Santa Anita Derby as a springboard to victory in the Kentucky Derby as Baffert and Smith again combine forces.

May 19—Preakness Day
Total Handle: $20 million
Attendance: 23,428
Ridden by Smith, Justify win his fifth straight overcoming a rugged speed duel and foggy conditions at Pimlico.

June 9—Belmont Day
Total Handle: $19 million
Attendance: 20,128
Justify joins Seattle Slew as only the second undefeated Triple Crown Champion. With Baffert and Smith again teaming for the win, the chestnut colt by Scat Daddy becomes the 13th overall Triple Crown Champ and Baffert’s second, along with American Pharoah, who did it in 2015.

June 24—Closing Day
Total Handle: $18.5 million
Attendance: 12,253
With a three-day combined Pick Six carryover of $821,858 coming into closing day, “$5,200,182 in “new” money was wagered, creating a massive total Pick Six pool of $6,022,040. This resulted in 208 winning tickets, each worth $20,255.20. The total closing day handle of $18,534,801 marked a nearly $10 million increase over the corresponding date from 2017.

Source: Santa Anita

Kentucky Downs Opens September 1. Record Purses on Tap

Kentucky Racetrack to Offer Record Purses

Kentucky Downs will offer a record $10 million in purses and Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund supplements at its five-date meet Sept. 1-13, with all 13 existing stakes getting increases and the creation of the $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint.

The Juvenile Turf Sprint, to be held Sept. 8, is designed as a steppingstone to the new $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint to be held Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint, with $250,000 of its $500,000 purse available to Kentucky-bred and -sired horses through the KTDF, will be run at 6 1/2 furlongs.

The Kentucky Downs Juvenile and the Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies were stretched in distance from seven furlongs to a mile. Those races are Sept. 1 and go from $350,000 to $400,000, including KTDF money.

“We have witnessed the rise in the importance of turf racing in America, as evidenced by the Breeders’ Cup adding the Juvenile Turf Sprint, so we want to mirror that trend,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ senior vice president and general manager. “We believe the Juvenile Turf Sprint will be a home run for the Breeders’ Cup in its first year, and it made sense for us to provide a logical pathway to that race.

“One of our goals is to be complementary to the great turf stakes at Keeneland and the Breeders’ Cup races at Churchill Downs. We see it as a terrific opportunity for horses to run at Kentucky Downs, Keeneland and Churchill Downs, never having to leave the Commonwealth as the international spotlight shines on our racetracks.”

The all-turf course on the Tennessee line will stage two stakes worth $750,000, with its Grade 3 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup on Sept. 8 bumped from $600,000 and the Sept. 1Tourist Mile jumping from $400,000. Both races offer $400,000 in base purses plus an additional $350,000 in KTDF money.

The Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint and Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf, both Grade 3 races, were raised to $500,000, from $400,000 and $350,000 respectively. The Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint, which earned Grade 3 status for 2018, now is $450,000, up $100,000.

Maiden ($130,000 for Kentucky-bred horses) and allowance races ($140,000-$145,000 for Kentucky-breds) remain the highest in North America.

The track also is offering four $100,000 races held under starter-allowance conditions on Sept. 9 to serve as preps for the Claiming Crown late in the year at Gulfstream Park. The races (two apiece for males and for fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs and a mile and 70 yards) are for horses who have started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2017. The winners receive an automatic spot in the associated Claiming Crown event and up to $1,000 for shipping to Florida.

The enhancements are made possible by the success of Kentucky Downs’ historical horse-racing operation. In addition, Kentucky Downs is transferring $2.4 million in purses and KTDF money to Ellis Park in an arrangement approved by the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, which represents owners and trainers at the state’s five thoroughbred tracks. The deal includes creating four $100,000 turf stakes Aug. 5 for a Kentucky Downs Preview Day positioned as launching pads to their corresponding Kentucky Downs race.

Kentucky Downs 2018 turf stakes*

Saturday, Sept. 1 — $750,000 Tourist Mile, 3yo & up, mile; $400,000 Exacta Systems Juvenile, 2yo fillies, mile; $400,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile, 2yo, mile; $250,000 One Dreamer (non-winners of a stakes in 2018), fillies & mares 3yo & up, mile and 70 yards.
Thursday, Sept. 6 — $250,000 Old Friends (non-winners of a stakes in 2018), 3yo & up, mile and 70 yards.
Saturday, Sept. 8 — $750,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup (G3), 3yo & up, 1 1/2 miles; $500,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3), 3yo & up, 6 1/2 furlongs; $500,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G3), 3yo &up, 6 1/2 furlongs; $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint; $450,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint (G3), fillies and mares 3yo & up, 6 1/2 furlongs.
Sunday, Sept. 9 — $400,000 Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby, 3yos, 1 5/16 miles; $300,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks, 3yo fillies, 1 5/16 miles.
Thursday, Sept. 13 — $400,000 Ramsey Farm, fillies and mares 3yo &up, 1 5/16 miles; $300,000 Franklin-Simpson, 3yo, 6 1/2 furlongs.

Source: Press Release

*includes Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund money

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Virginia … Yet

Horse Racing Wagering Business Up in Virginia

According to a recent Virginia Thoroughbred Association report, rises in OTB and ADW handle in Virginia have prompted a $10 million increase in overall racing handle in the state from 2017.

Through the first seven months of the year, ADW was over $52 million, up 3.2 percent from the same period in 2017. OTB handle is up over $8 million as two new sites have opened up since 2017. Both new sites — Buckets Bar and Grill in Chesapeake, and The Windmill OTB in Collinsville — are the only two serving their regions, as the preexisting OTBs were both in Richmond.

TVG is the most popular ADW operator in Virginia, followed by TwinSpies, Xpressbet, and NYRA Bets, which is a relatively new addition to the options there.

Read more at the Virginia Thoroughbred Association

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in South Florida

Gulfstream Park grandstand copyright All Star Press 2012Gulfstream Park’s 2018 Spring meet set new standards for total and average handle despite six fewer days of racing.

Is Horse Racing Dead?  Not in South Florida or many other locations throughout the country.

Gulfstream’s total handle for the Spring was a record $334 million, up $22 million over 2017. Total handle on the Spring meet has climbed approximately $88 million since 2015.

Average daily handle topped $6 million ($6.312) for the first time since Gulfstream began running in the spring. This year’s average was up $1.012 million from 2017 and $2.1 million since 2015.

Highlights of the Spring Meet included victories by Stormy Embrace in the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2), a ‘Win & You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup race, X Y Jet winning the Smile Sprint, and a three-way tie for leading trainer between Todd Pletcher, Oscar Gonzalez and Victor Barboza Jr.

“We continue building and shaping Florida racing’s Spring and Summer meets,” said Bill Badgett, General Manager of Gulfstream Park. “We’re building a strong, year-round program with quality racing and full fields, and fans and horsemen are supporting our program. There is still more to do and much more to accomplish as we continue to combine racing with entertainment events.”

Source: Gulfstream Park

Penn National Reports Strong Second Quarter in 2018

PENN National logoIs Horse Racing dead? Penn National Reports Gains

Casino and racetrack owner Penn National Gaming Inc. reported a spike in income from operations in announcing financial results July 26 for the three months ended June 30.

Source: Penn National Reports Strong Second Quarter