Successful 2017 Hawthorne Race Meet

Despite a rain-filled opening two months of the fall thoroughbred meet at Hawthorne and a cancellation of the closing day card due to extreme cold temperatures, both handle and field size saw significant increases as the meet concluded on December 29.

Total daily handle for 36 day fall meet averaged $1,708,081, up 9.17% from the $1,564,655 wagered per racing day in the fall of 2016. While the poor weather led to a slight onsite decrease of 5% from $54,031 per card in 2016 to $51,284 per card this fall, In-state handle rose 3.74%, $105,305 this fall compared to $101,510 in the fall of 2016. Out of state handle on Hawthorne’s races rose 10%, increasing to $1,551,492 this fall versus $1,409,114 wagered per day in the fall of 2016.

Fans at Hawthorne racecourse. Fans at Hawthorne racecourse

Despite being able to contest only 27 races on the turf this fall, compared to 46 in 2016, average field size for the fall meet was 8.49 starters per race up from the average of 7.80 starters per race in 2016.

With the help of grant funds from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the 2017 fall meet also brought about the return of the stakes schedule. Longshot My Bariley kicked off the stakes season with a late closing score in the return of the Hawthorne Derby on October 28. Prado’s Sweet Ride and Goneghost were winners in the slop in the Illini Princess and Buck’s Boy Handicap respectively on November 4. In the Showtime Deb, trainer Larry Rivelli saddled a winner in Richie’slilwildcat while RIvelli’s Pass the Gravy was the victor in the Sun Power Stakes.

The grade 3 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap made its return on November 25 as 2016 Grade 2 Marathon winner Scuba got up in the shadow of the wire to catch Futile. On the Gold Cup day undercard, Shar Ran was the winner of the Powerless Handicap while Goneghost impressed again in winning the Lightning Jet Handicap.

The fall stakes season closed out with Cowgirl Callie just holding on in the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante while Pass the Gravy stretched out to win the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity.

“This fall meet was about making things simple and doing everything we could to offer a great wagering product for our players,” stated Hawthorne President and General Manager Tim Carey. “Fans want to see full fields and competitive racing and our horsemen were great about filling races at all levels. We make it a point at Hawthorne to avoid racing on top of other tracks, something our players and simulcast partners appreciate as we aim to be a focus for the bettor. Lastly, the support we receive on a daily basis from TVG with racing coverage along with our online partner in Xpressbet have helped bring Hawthorne back to the forefront in racing.”

With the fall thoroughbred meet complete, there is no rest at Hawthorne. Immediately upon the conclusion of the meet, track maintenance crews and staff will be taking to the track to begin the track conversion to a Standardbred surface as Hawthorne is the final remaining track in the United States to race dual breeds over the same oval. 11,000 tons of dirt will be removed along with the Fontana safety rail as the track will be graded to a perfectly even consistency and pylons placed down, all in a 96 hour period in preparation for a January 5 start to the winter harness season.

Source: Press Release

Mahoning Valley Increases Purses for 2018

Is Horse Racing Dead?

Mahoning Valley Race Course, in cooperation with the Ohio HBPA, announced a 5-7% purse increase effective Jan. 2.

Source: Mahoning Valley Increases Purses for 2018

More Gains. 2017 Remington Park Meet Up.

Remington Park LogoPress Release

The 2017 Remington Park Thoroughbred Season experienced increased handle, average field size and total purses compared to the previous year. The final program on Dec. 17, Springboard Mile Day, was the second-largest betting day on Remington Park racing in the track’s history.

The all-sources pari-mutuel handle on Remington Park racing during Springboard Mile Day was $2,775,655, becoming the second-highest program for handle on Remington Park in the history of the track. The record was set on Feb. 24, 1990 when $2,808,243 was played on the Remington Park races.

Greyvitos won the 2017 edition of the $400,000 Springboard Mile, picking up 10 valuable points for 2018 Kentucky Derby eligibility in the process. This was the first year for the Springboard Mile as a Kentucky Derby points-race.

The big final day of the season capped the 67-dates with total handle on Remington Park racing of $66,844,252, up 16.6% over the 2016 total of $57,332,509. The increase was boosted by export handle on Remington Park of $63,188,252, up 18.2 % from last year when the export betting was $53,466,844.

“Remington Park enjoyed a successful Thoroughbred season thanks to our fans, horsemen and business partners, helping drive our pari-mutuel handle,” said Matt Vance, Remington Park vice president of operations. “We had an increase in field size this season, and our stakes program was well supported both locally and from connections shipping horses from across the United States to compete in Oklahoma City.”

The Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby was won this year by Untrapped, the first derby win here by National Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen who wrapped up his record 13th leading trainer title at Remington Park. The Oklahoma Derby had three competitors who raced in the Kentucky Derby earlier in the year. Battle Of Midway, Girvin and Untrapped represented the first time a trio of runners that raced in the Kentucky Derby competed in the Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park that fall.

Eclipse Award winner Champagne Room won the Remington Park Oaks, on the Oklahoma Derby undercard. Her resume and success in the race helped bring it graded status for the first time in its history. The 2018 Remington Park Oaks will now carry a Grade 3 title, joining the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby as Remington Park’s graded Thoroughbred events.

Remington Park purses grew in 2017 to $16,144,945 for an average of $240,969 per day. The total is up 1.8% over the $15,855,080 distributed a year ago.

A total of 5,410 horses took part in the 604 races at Remington Park this season, for an average field size of 8.96, up from the average of 8.4 in 2016.

Remington Park’s on-track handle of $3,454,413 slid 4.4% from a year ago when it was $3,613,712. Thunder Roadhouse in north Oklahoma City had handle on Remington Park of $201,587 as the track’s lone off-track location. There were three off-track sites in 2016, playing a total of $251,953 on Remington Park racing.

Remington Park conducted one less race in 2017, running 604 events, compared to 605 in 2016. Both seasons had 67 race dates.

Live racing is now on hiatus until the start of the 2018 American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa Season starts on March 9. Until then, simulcast racing is available daily and the Remington Park Casino is always open. Admission, parking and valet parking are always free at Remington Park.

Is Horse Racing Dead? Golden Gate Meet Sees Healthy Gains

Golden gate turf breakGolden Gate Fields concluded a successful fall meet on December 10 with very strong year over year gains in handle. The all-source handle saw a double digit increase of 12% while on-track handle was also up, showing an 8% gain. Total on-track attendance for the fall meet was steady, with a slight increase from 2016.

“We’re very pleased with the performance of this meet. We’re also absolutely thrilled that our loyal fans come out to support this game in which we all have such a strong passion for,” said general manager David Duggan. “A lot of credit goes to the hard work of our horsemen, jockeys, and dedicated team.”

The gains from the fall meet continue the overall upward trend of 2017 at Golden Gate Fields. The bayside track saw increases in both attendance and on-track handle at the conclusions of the winter/spring and summer meets.

Juan Hernandez led all jockeys in wins during the fall meet with 38 trips to the winner’s circle. Trainer John Martin, who won 3 races on closing day Sunday, scored a 21-20 win total over Jonathan Wong in the training standings. In fact, Martin and Wong were tied with 20 wins apiece heading into the last race of the meet. Country Road, conditioned by John Martin, made a last to first blitz to the front in the finale to secure the training title for the Martin stable. Hernandez and Martin also won the jockey and trainer titles at the 2016 Golden Gate fall meet.

Racing resumes at Golden Gate Fields on December 26 with an early 12:15 p.m. PT first post. The winter/spring meet, which is the longest of the three live racing seasons at Golden Gate Fields, runs through June 10.

2017 Belmont Park Fall Meet – All Sources Handle Rises Significantly

Press Release

Average daily handle up 12.5 percent

Average field size up 7.5 percent

Despite racing three fewer days compared with 2016, and the full cancellation of the closing day card due to severe weather, the Belmont Park fall meet generated all-sources handle of $303,405,927, a 3.6 percent increase over the 2016 Belmont fall meet.

Average daily handle over the course of the 35 days of racing was $8,668,741, a 12.5 percent increase over 2016.

Average field size for the 329 races contested from September 8 to October 28 was 8.17, a 7.5 percent increase over 2016.

2017 Belmont Park Fall Meet

  • All-sources handle: $303,405,927
  • All-sources average daily handle: $8,668,741
  • Average field size: 8.17
  • Race days: 35
  • Races: 329
  • 2017 On-track handle: $37,259,201
  • 2017 Betting interests: 2,687

2016 Belmont Park Fall Meet

  • All-sources handle: $292,799,814
  • All-sources average daily handle: $7,705,258
  • Average field size: 7.60
  • Race days: 38
  • Races: 354
  • On-track handle: $37,566,563
  • Betting interests: 2,692

Century Casinos Announces Date of Third Quarter 2017 Earnings Release and Conference Call

Century Casino logoCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.,  /PRNewswire/ — Alberta’s Century Casinos, Inc. (NASDAQ Capital Market®: CNTY) announced that the company will release its earnings for the third quarter of 2017 on Monday, November 6, 2017. On Monday, November 6, 2017, Century Casinos will host its Q3 2017 Earnings Conference Call at 8:00 a.m. MST ( 4:00… [Read more…]

Laurel Park Handle Continues to Climb

For the third consecutive year and eighth consecutive meet, Laurel Park registered an increase in average daily handle during its recently-completed summer meet.

Source: Laurel Park Handle Continues to Climb

Is Horse Racing Dead? New Mexico Track Reports Gains

Press Release: Albuquerque Downs

Albuquerque Downs ended its 57-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse race meet on September 24, recording increases in total wagering handle and average daily purse distribution.

A total of $13,078,819 was wagered on Albuquerque Downs’ 543 live races, an increase of 3 percent over the $12,706,327 wagered on the track’s 582 live races during its 60-day season in 2016. Of the total wagered this year, $3,284,178 was bet on track and $9,794,641 was wagered at off-track sites.

horse racing blinkersAlbuquerque Downs’ average daily handle on its live races reached $229,453 per day, an increase of 8 percent over last year’s average daily handle of $211,772. The track’s average-per-race handle — $24,086 — was 10 percent higher than the 2016 average-per-race handle of $21,832.

Much of Albuquerque Downs’ handle increase can be attributed to the fact that, for the first time in its history, the track’s all-Thoroughbred Wednesday programs were featured on TVG starting on July 26.

Horsemen benefited from Albuquerque Downs’ brisk business, as the track paid $9,317,484 in purses for 57 days, down less than 1 percent from the $9,406,287 paid for 60 days in 2016. However, average daily purses in 2017 reached $163,465, up 4 percent over the 2016 average of $156,771, and the 2017 average-per-race purse of $17,159 was 6 percent higher than last year’s average-per-race purse of $16,162.

Albuquerque Downs’ 2017 season was scheduled for 58 days, but one date — Friday, August 11 — was canceled due to weather conditions.

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Alfredo Juarez Jr. was Albuquerque Downs’ leading Thoroughbred jockey with 51 wins from 160 mounts, nine more than runner-up Elvin Gonzalez, who rode 42 winners from 188 mounts. Juarez also led all Albuquerque jockeys with mount earnings of $708,540.

Albuquerque Downs’ leading Thoroughbred trainer, Justin Evans, prepped the winners of 39 races from 127 starters, 20 more than runner-up Henry Dominguez, who won 19 races from 105 starters. Evans also finished first in starter purse earnings at $561,075.

Jose Luna Silva topped all Albuquerque Downs Thoroughbred owners with 11 winners from 32 starters, five more than runner-up Solitaire Stable, which won six races from 30 starters. The father-and-son team of Sam E. Stevens and Sammy L. Stevens of Lamesa, Texas, topped the track’s owner standings with purse earnings of $115,795.

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On the Quarter Horse side, Isaias Cardenas was Albuquerque Downs’ leading jockey with 30 wins from 172, two more than J. Martin Bourdieu, who won 26 races from 132 Quarter Horse mounts. Agustin Silva topped all Quarter Horse riders in purse earnings with $458,538 from just 41 mounts.

Jesus Carrete topped all Albuquerque Downs Quarter Horse trainers with 30 wins from 76 starters, 16 more than runner-up Ernest Fennell, who prepped the winners of 14 races from 32 starters. The winner of the $252,515 La Fiesta Futurity on closing day with Strykr Force, Carrete also topped the track’s trainers in purse earnings at $502,939.

Jesus M. Estrada was Albuquerque Downs’ leading Quarter Horse owner with 10 wins from 19 starters, two more than Carrete, who won eight races from 17 of his own starters. Carrete, who is also the owner of Strykr Force, topped all Albuquerque Quarter Horse owners in purse earnings at $212,238.

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The many outstanding equine performances at Albuquerque Downs, which paid a track-record $1.5 million in purses during its closing weekend (September 23-24), were topped by reigning American Quarter Horse Association world champion Jessies First Down. A homebred 6-year-old gelding trained by Jimmy Padgett for owner Ted G. Abrams of Houston, Jessies First Down won the September 24, $250,000 Albuquerque Fall Quarter Horse Championship, which for the first time in its three-year history offered its winner a berth in the $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1) at Los Alamitos.

Albuquerque’s richest and most prestigious stakes for Thoroughbreds, the 1 1/8-mile, $200,000 Downs at Albuquerque Handicap on August 5, was won by Richard Keith’s American Dubai. Rodney Richards trained the 4-year-old Virginia-bred colt.

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Live horse racing will resume at Albuquerque Downs on June 29, 2018. The scheduled 55-day season will run through September 23.

Is Horse Racing Dead? Louisiana Meet up 12%

Press Release

The 2017 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs concluded with a nine-race card on Wednesday, September 27. The 84-day meet, which got underway on May 6, wrapped with positive gains in handle and officials were pleased with the transition to a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday racing schedule.

Louisiana Downs handled $67 million throughout the meet, an increase of 12% in handle from the 2016 live Thoroughbred racing season.

“We are grateful for the continued support of our horsemen throughout the 2017 meet,” said Trent McIntosh, Louisiana Downs assistant general manager. “The change in our schedule was well received by horseplayers on track and by simulcast fans watching and wagering across the country.”

horses racingSunny skies graced both major racing events, the Louisiana Cup Day on Saturday, August 5 and Super Derby Day on Saturday, September 9. Flurry Racing Stables Mr. Misunderstood captured both the Prelude and $200,000 Super Derby and will make his next start in Saturday’s Jefferson Cup Stakes at Churchill Downs, according to trainer Brad Cox.

Joey Foster Repeats as Leading Trainer

Joey Foster has been firing on all cylinders this meet and defended his title in commanding fashion. The Vinton, Louisiana resident topped all conditioners with 301 starters and a record of 68 wins, 55 seconds and 48 third-place finishes. Foster was the meet’s top trainer last year with 41 wins, after finished third in the standings in 2015 with 39 wins. His stakes winners this year included Big Game Baby, in the $75,000 Elge Rasberry and Illusionofreality, who kept her four-race win streak alive in the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff.

“I am very blessed to have this success,” said Foster. “This meet has been great for me and my owners. Both track surfaces are well maintained and safe. I have to commend (track superintendent) Billy McKeever for doing a super job. To me, Louisiana Downs is the prettiest track in the state and I am grateful to have won the title again this year.”

H. B. Johnson finished in second place with 27 wins. Ronnie Ward saddled 18 winners and Sarah Delany rounded out the top four conditioners with 16 wins.

Gerardo Mora Wins His First Louisiana Downs Leading Rider Title

Gerardo Mora made the most of his second year competing in Bossier City topping a very competitive jockey colony to emerge as the meet’s top rider. The 25-year-old jockey is respected for his well-timed finishes and versatility in mastering both the turf and main track and finished the meet with a record of 477 starts, 77 wins, 81 seconds and 65 thirds.

Born in Palestine, Texas, Mora had family ties to racing as his uncle, Adrian Ramos, was a veteran rider on the Louisiana and Texas circuit. He made his debut at Sam Houston Race Park as an apprentice in 2011 and earned two leading rider titles there as well as Retama Park. Mora was third in the standings last year, but had plenty of business this year and was well represented by his agent, Ronald Ardoin, who was one of the most successful jockeys in Louisiana.

“I want to thank each of the trainers, owners for believing in me,” said Mora. “Last year was a good start for me at Louisiana Downs. When I started the meet, horsemen knew me and gave me a lot of opportunities and Ronald did a great job with my book. He’s the man!”

Aubrie Green continued her strong showing, beginning the meet as an apprentice, but losing no business once she lost her bug. She finished in second place with 64 trips to the winner’s circle. Richard Eramia, who was on top for much of the season before he departed to ride at Remington Park, was third with 59 victories. Jose Guerrero rounded out the top four with 57 wins.

Next up for Mora is Delta Downs for their meet which gets underway on October 18.

Jorge Gomez Honored as Leading Owner

The very tight battle for leading owner honors concluded on the final day of the meet with Jorge Gomez finishing on top with 12 wins. Horses owned by Gomez made 114 starts, with Ty Diesel, Blue Choice and Concho posting multiple wins. This was the first leading owner title for Gomez, who resides in Bossier City, Louisiana and will head to Fair Grounds next.

“I want to thank my crew and my jockey, Alexander Castillo,” said Gomez. “They each helped me in winning my first leading owner title.”

Red Rose Racing followed closely with 11 wins and Patti Turner, Beverly Burress, Jamie C. Pastor, William K. Harris, Dream Walkin Farms, Inc., Terrell Jarret, Jr. and Anthony Faulk each won nine races each in the 2017 Thoroughbred meet.

California Horse Racing Meet Rises

Press Release

Total mutuel handle generated in California for the Los Angeles County Fair meet at Los Alamitos, which concluded Sunday, Sept. 24, was up slightly over the 2016 season.

The total handle in California – including on-track, off track betting sites and through advance deposit wagering entities – was $41,982,620 compared to $41,690,533. Those figures represent a 0.7% gain. The all-sources total co-mingled handle for the meet, including sites outside of California, was $62,737,026, compared to $63,147,196, a slight decrease of 0.6%.

Daytime thoroughbred racing will return to Los Alamitos Thursday, Nov. 30 with the start of the Winter meet. The 12-day season will continue through Sunday, Dec. 17 with racing conducted on a Thursday-Sunday basis.

The meet will be highlighted by a pair of Grade I races for 2-year-olds. The $300,000 Starlet for fillies and the $300,000 Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity will be run Saturday, Dec. 9.