Is Horse Racing at a Tipping Point?

It’s barely 9.30am at Santa Anita Park racetrack in Los Angeles, but Jennifer Saavedra has been at work for five hours already. Her husband, trainer Anthony, is traveling, and she’s charged with overseeing their small five-horse stable. “I’ll probably get done around six tonight,” she says. Long days are a staple of track life like water is to the Venetians. Not that Saavedra minds: horses are in her “blood,” the 53-year-old says.

“You couldn’t keep me away from the track since I could walk.”

But the intense scrutiny the sport in California has been under these past few months – a result of the 30 horses fatally injured at Santa Anita during a six-month period that’s commanded national headlines – has left Saavedra “exceedingly” worried that the existential crisis facing the racing industry could bring about an abrupt end to racing in California. Saavedra describes her involvement in the sport – a world as far removed from the office 9-to-5 as Mercury is from Neptune – as her “passion”. A way of life that’s “more than just a job”, she says.

But the intense scrutiny that horse racing in California has been under these past few months – a result of 30 horses fatally injured at Santa Anita during a six-month period – has left Saavedra “exceedingly” worried that the existential crisis facing the sport could bring an abrupt end to a world she’s been in her “whole life.”

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Churchill Downs Incorporated Reports 2019 Second Quarter Results

LOUISVILLE, Ky., July 31, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Churchill Downs Incorporated ( CHDN ) (the “Company”) today reported business results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2019. Second Quarter 2019 Highlights Net revenue of $477.4 million, up 26% over the prior year quarter Net income of $107.1 million, […]

Second Quarter 2019 Highlights

  • Net revenue of $477.4 million, up 26% over the prior year quarter
  • Net income of $107.1 million, up 4% over the prior year quarter
    º Adjusted net income of $115.0 million, up 9% over the prior year quarter
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $215.0 million, up 23% over the prior year quarter
  • Successful 145th running of The Kentucky Derby, contributing to record highs for wagering and Adjusted EBITDA
  • Continued sequential growth at Derby City Gaming in Louisville, Kentucky, with strong margin performance
  • Strong performance of our Gaming properties primarily due to the performance of Rivers Casino Des Plaines in Des Plaines, Illinois and Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie, Pennsylvania
(in millions, except per share data) 2019 2018

churchill downs ky derby daySECOND QUARTER 2019 NET INCOME

The Company’s second quarter 2019 net income of $107.1 million was comprised of $108.3 million in net income from continuing operations and $1.2 million in net loss from discontinued operations. The prior year quarter net income of $103.1 million was comprised of $103.2 million in net income from continuing operations and $0.1 million in net loss from discontinued operations.

More about  Churchill stock:

Horse racing in Iowa doing well despite overall industry declines

Economic Impact Nearly $200M

University of Kentucky researcher Alison Davis conducted a study which shows the economic impact of horse racing on Iowa is nearly $197 million. “I was impressed with the overall impact. For a state like Iowa to have an economic impact of about 200 million dollars was pretty significant,” Davis says.

Davis says some of the economic impact may be under reported due to a lack of data. She says in the report that $143 million of the output was generated by the thoroughbred racing industry — with $29 million of that from the Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona.

“To see how Pairie Meadows Casino and their parimutuel activity compared to the actual thoroughbred racing and their expenses, I said certainly indicated the importance of the equine component of horse racing and also the support of the casino,” Davis says. The report finds the industry supports 2,961 fulltime jobs. She says the horse industry is doing well in Iowa, but members of the industry need to be aware of the issues they face.

“Even though those are impressive numbers, horse racing as an industry is facing challenges, not just here, but in other places. But certainly we saw the numbers where horse farms were decreasing, number of horses (decreasing). To think about those types of challenges where it is because of alternative competition or changes in business model is something to think about. What might happen if it declines more?,” Davis says.

 

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 …

Phenomenal Purses Scheduled for Churchill Downs’ 145th Spring Meet

$5,000 claimers running for $29,000.   Bottom allowance runners going for a $103,000 purse.  That’s the type of purses set for Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby week 2019.   Is horse racing dead?  Not in Kentucky.

Per the Churchill Downs’ press release:

Record prize money for horsemen will be distributed at Churchill Downs’ 145th Spring Meet thanks to early returns from state-of-the-art historical racing machines at Derby City Gaming.

The first condition book, which covers the first half of the 38-day Spring Meet, was released Wednesday, and purses for the 189 offered races total $20.1 million – an unprecedented 46% increase from last spring’s $13.7 million. The daily average is $1,056,842 compared to $722,579 in 2018, or $106,243 per race versus $72,640. All purses include prize money from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.

Purses for all six days of racing on Derby Week (April 27-May 4) have been supercharged. In years past, only the purses on Oaks and Derby days were boosted. Maiden special weight races will be $100,000. Allowance races will range from $103,000 to $110,000. Total purses on Oaks Day will exceed $3.6 million, and Derby Day prize money will be worth a record $6.9 million.

After Derby Week, maiden special weight races will be worth $85,000 (up from $53,000 in 2018), and allowance races will range from $87,000 to $94,000 (up from $55,000 to $61,000 in 2018). The daily prize money post-Derby Week will average $525,308 compared to $356,769 in 2018, or $55,975 per race versus $38,016 a year ago.

In a change from last year, the winner’s share of the purse in all overnight races will be 56% (previously 60%) and 1.5% of the purse will be distributed to the sixth- through last-place finishers (previously 0.5%) to incentivize starts and reward owners who run their horses.

More than $30 million in total prize money – $12 million in stakes races and another $18 million in overnight races – is expected to be offered during this year’s Spring Meet. Last year, total purses paid during the 372-race Spring Meet was $22.2 million.

“This is such an exciting time to be a part of Kentucky racing,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “Our investment into Derby City Gaming, which opened just five months ago, continues to pay immediate dividends to Kentucky horsemen. We have reinforced our Derby Week festival concept, solidified our lucrative stakes program and tremendously strengthened our overnight racing product.We truly believe this growth and methodology will benefit all owners, trainers and jockeys that participate at Churchill Downs and make for an extremely exciting and competitive meet.”

With 75 total racing dates in 2019, Churchill Downs will offer more racing opportunities for horsemen than any other racetrack in Kentucky and increase its purses with more than an additional $10 million as a result of handle generated by Derby City Gaming’s initial year of operation. The $65 million facility opened in mid-September at nearby 4520 Poplar Level Road.

Earlier this year, Churchill Downs announced a record 34-race, $12.2 million Spring Meet stakes schedule that included a $1 million boost to the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) on Saturday, May 4, making it worth a guaranteed $3 million. Also among the 15 stakes races that received significant increases were the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), which was raised to $1.25 million, and the Old Forester Turf Classic (GI), which was doubled to $1 million.

Stall applications for the highly-anticipated Spring Meet, which will begin Saturday, April 27 and continue through Saturday, June 29, are due Friday, March 8. The stable area will reopen Tuesday, March 19 and the first scheduled day of training is Friday, March 22.

View the condition book online: https://www.churchilldowns.com/horsemen/racing/condition-book/.

Tennessee Bill Aims to Resurrect Horse Racing Commission

Is Horse Racing Dead in TN?  Maybe Not Forever

Tennessee has a rich equine history, but the legislature banned horse race gambling in 1905.

According to The Tennessean, in 1987 lawmakers approved the Racing Control Act, which legalized pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing and created the Tennessee State Racing Commission to oversee tracks. Several venues were proposed, but they either couldn’t survive local referendums or got knocked down in the courts by litigation, and none were built.

Without any tracks to license or regulate, the racing commission–which consisted of just one individual for a number of years–was disbanded in 1998. In 2015 lawmakers repealed the Racing Control Act. In 2016 they launched an advisory committee to try and bring a version of it back.

Horse racing in Tennessee currently consists of the non-profit Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville, which runs a well-attended, one-day, non-betting meet at Percy Warner Park each May. Farther beneath the radar, non-sanctioned Quarter Horse match races exist at Carril de Memphis, an “outlaw” track west of Memphis that openly advertises its schedule of race dates on Facebook.

The money flowing across state lines to gambling venues in bordering Mississippi and Arkansas was cited as an impetus to resurrect horse racing in Tennessee.

“What I’m trying to do is reactivate the horse racing commission …

Learn About Horseplayer Marshall Gramm

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.