Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Upstate New York

All-sources handle record set as wagering tops $700 million during 2019 meet at Saratoga Race Course

Source: NYRA Press Office

by Pat Mckenna; Mark Bardack

Milestone record achieved during reconfigured racing calendar and despite cancellation of a Saturday racing card

For the first time in history, the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) generated more than $700 million in all-sources handle during the 2019 meet at Saratoga Race Course, which was conducted over a five-day race week and included the cancellation of a full Saturday card of racing.

Wagering from all-sources totaled $705,343,949 a staggering increase of more than $46 million, or 7 percent, over last year when racing was conducted for the full 40 days during a six-day week. This year’s handle eclipsed the previous record set in 2017 by nearly $29 million or 4.2 percent.

The milestone record was achieved despite the cancellation of a full racing card on the second Saturday of the season due to extreme heat, in addition to the cancellation of the final seven races on July 25 due to severe storms.

The record was also set during a season in which the Saratoga calendar was reconfigured to include a five-day race week, a departure from the traditional six days, and the earliest opening in modern history. The change was made to accommodate construction of a new arena for the New York Islanders at Belmont Park.

Average Daily Handle Up Nearly 10%

Average daily handle for the 2019 Saratoga meet was $18,085,742, an increase of 9.8 percent over the 2018 average daily handle of $16,477,086.

NYRA sets new all-sources handle record as wagering tops $700 million during 2019 meet at Saratoga Race Course

copyright NYRA

“This has been a truly outstanding meet highlighted by the traditional recipe that sets Saratoga apart: world-class thoroughbred racing and entertainment. We would not be in this enviable position without the dedication of the owners, the talent of the horsemen, and the unmatched enthusiasm of our fans. I want to thank the local community for their support and everyone who contributed to our success this summer,” said NYRA CEO & President Dave O’Rourke. “This summer also marked the loss of one of Saratoga’s most ardent benefactors, Mrs. Marylou Whitney. Saratoga and NYRA will forever be grateful for her contributions to racing.”

Klaravich Stables was the meet’s leading owner with 19 wins. Chad Brown defended his H. Allen Jerkens training title with 41 wins. Jockey Jose Ortiz claimed the Angel Cordero, Jr. riding title with 60 wins.

The 2019 season witnessed several other highwater marks, including record all-sources handle of $31,835,863 on Whitney Day and $52,129,344 on Travers Day.

This year’s banner Travers Day coincided with the 150th edition of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers, which aired for the first time on the FOX broadcast network and was watched by more than 1.3 million viewers nationwide.

Saratoga’s record handle can also be attributed, in part, to the unabated growth and popularity of Saratoga Live, NYRA’s highly-acclaimed and award-winning television program. Distributed to a nationwide audience across FS2, Saratoga Live featured more than 190 hours of live programming this season compared to 80 hours when the broadcast was first introduced in 2016. FS2, part of the Fox family of networks, carried full-card coverage during most of the meet’s 39 racing days. NYRA’s investment in content and distribution has been rewarded with an increase in year-over-year viewership of more than 140 percent.

This year’s Whitney Day celebrated the life and legacy of Mrs. Marylou Whitney, the beloved owner, breeder and philanthropist who passed away earlier in the meet.

Whitney Day featured a visit by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who announced plans to build the Marylou Whitney Backstretch Pavilion, a permanent structure on the Oklahoma training grounds to house the Saratoga Backstretch Appreciation program. Launched more than a decade ago by Mrs. Whitney and her husband, John Hendrickson, the program provides meals, entertainment and support for thousands of backstretch workers.

On the eve of Whitney Day, NYRA officially dedicated the Clubhouse entrance in Mrs. Whitney’s honor. Fans each summer will now pass through the “Marylou Whitney Entrance” upon their arrival at Saratoga Race Course.

The 2019 meet marked the debut of the Empire 6, NYRA’s new jackpot-style multi-race wager, which provided one of two mandatory payouts on closing day. A total of $5,379,911 was wagered on closing day of the Empire 6 for a total pool size of $6,173,478 which included the jackpot carryover. Monday’s five figure payout of $23,794 rivaled several other large Empire 6 payouts over the course of the meet including: $37,064 on August 21; $25,145 on August 14 and $12,547 on August 18.

The 2019 season saw the successful debut of the newest hospitality venue at Saratoga Race Course: the 1863 Club. Constructed over the course of only 10 months, the 36,000-square-foot, three-story, climate-controlled building welcomed thousands of fans who experienced its modern amenities and sweeping views and sightlines of the track during its inaugural season.

The Saratoga meet began with an Opening Weekend celebration to honor New York Yankees Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera. The legendary Yankees star visited the Spa just prior to his induction into Cooperstown as the first unanimous selection in the history of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. During the event, NYRA presented Rivera with commemorative framed blue and white pinstriped silks featuring the closer’s famed number “42”.

On-track handle for 2019 was $146,618,750.

Total paid attendance for the 2019 Saratoga meet was 1,056,053 over 39 days, marking the fifth consecutive season that paid attendance has exceeded one million fans.

Figures for all-sources handle at Saratoga dating back to 2010, the start of the 40-day meet, are as follows:

All-Sources Handle

2010 $551,660,724

2011* $526,251,819

2012 $588,351,964

2013 $586,617,240

2014 $571,163,485

2015 $648,272,805

2016 $647,322,503

2017 $676,709,490

2018 $659,083,459

2019* $705,343,949

*39 race days, due to weather cancellation

Live racing returns Friday, September 6 to Belmont Park for the 37-day fall meet, which includes 45 stakes worth $11.525 million in purse money – an increase of $1.45 million over 2018 – starting at Belmont Park from September 6 to October 6, and concluding at Aqueduct Racetrack, with Belmont at the Big A from October 11 to October 27. The fall championship meet will be highlighted by eight Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifiers held over two weekends.

For more information, visit NYRA.com for the report on horse racing in upstate New York.

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.

 

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

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

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

Huge July 2018 for Sportsbook Betting in New Jersey

New Jersey’s sportsbooks did not disappoint in their first full month of operation, increasing wagers dramatically in June while nearly doubling the number of open sportsbooks to five. Such an increase was to be expected and a sign of what lies ahead, according to analysts for PlayNJ.com.

“Considering the rate at which sportsbooks are opening in New Jersey, it is certainly not surprising to see a steep increase in revenue and the amount of money wagered,” said Dustin Gouker, lead sports betting analyst for PlayNJ.com. “The underlying data points are impressive, though. And it’s important to remember that this is the industry’s infancy. A mature, fully established New Jersey sports betting market could field billions of dollars in annual wagers.”

New Jersey’s sportsbooks generated $3.8 million in gross revenue on $40.7 million in wagers in July, according official reporting released Tuesday. Both metrics are up from the $3.5 million in gross revenue generated in June on $16.4 million in wagers completed.

The first full month of operation for Monmouth Park, Borgata, and Ocean Resort Casino — which all opened June 14 or later — and the addition of two new sportsbooks in July were the key drivers to the growth.

FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands Racetrack opened on July 14, placing a legal sportsbook on the doorstep of New York City. Caesar’s Entertainment opened the sportsbook at Bally’s Atlantic City on July 30, and later opened the book at Harrah’s Atlantic City on Aug. 1.

Of the existing books, Ocean Resort led the way with $1.03 million in gross revenue by generating $33,444 per day. Ocean Resort opened June 28. Monmouth Park tallied $856,280 in July gross revenue, generating $27,622 per day. That was down from $142,448 per day in June and $2.3 million in gross revenue in 16 days of operation. Borgata tallied $562,280 in July revenue, up from $986,831 in June, and $18,138 per day.

“Revenue growth slowed at the existing books, but we expect it to hasten once football begins later this month,” Gouker said. “August will be fun to watch, as it will give us our first full month-over-month comparisons.”

The new sportsbooks fared well. FanDuel Sportsbook posted $1.35 million in July gross revenue, leading all books by generating $43,790 per day. Bally’s AC generated $17,788.

The addition of legal sportsbooks should only continue. Resorts is expected to open its sportsbook in days, and at least three more are in either the planning or construction phases. In addition, DraftKings became the first operational online sportsbook earlier this month.

“By the end of the year, New Jersey should have perhaps as many as a dozen online sportsbooks,” Gouker said. “With football season coming soon, we expect the pace of conventional and online sportsbooks entering the market to only increase.”

LEGAL ONLINE GAMBLING

New Jersey’s legal online gambling industry continued its winning streak, too, generating a record $25.9 million in gross revenue in July, up 14.2 percent from $22.7 million in June. A 25.8 percent increase from $20.6 million in July 2017, July 2018 marks the 45th consecutive time that monthly gross revenue has increased year-over-year.

Legal online gambling has generated an average of $23.6 million a month and $165.4 million in annual revenue so far this year, putting the industry on pace to shatter the $245.6 million annual revenue mark set just last year. And with online sports betting set to take off in August, the rate of growth should only increase.

This has proven to be critical to once struggling Atlantic City.

“Atlantic City casinos cracked 30,000 employees for the first time since 2014, proving once again that online gambling hasn’t cannibalized New Jersey’s land-based casinos,” said Steve Ruddock, lead online gambling analyst for PlayNJ.com. “Add more than $155 million in additional tax revenue that online gambling has generated since it began in 2013, and online gambling has proven to be an unqualified success.”

Some other important online gambling metrics from the July report:

With July’s collection of $4.5 million in tax revenue, online casinos have now generated $155.4 million for New Jersey since the industry was born in November 2013.

Now with $887.9 million in lifetime revenue, the industry could hit the $1 billion mark by the end of the year.

The industry generated $835,404 per day in the 31 days in July, up from the 756,136 per day in the 30 days in June.

Market leader Golden Nugget — home to the Golden Nugget, Betfair, and SugarHouse online casino brands — generated a record $9.3 million in July, up from the $8.4 million gathered in June.

Online casino games generated $24.04 million in July, up from $20.9 million in May. Online poker hit $1.9 million in June, up from $1.8 million in June

Newcomers Hard Rock Rock Atlantic City generated $329,650 and Ocean Resort Casino tallied $249,805 in July.

For more information and analysis on regulated online gaming in New Jersey, visitPlayNJ.com.

source: Press Release

Stars & Stripes Racing Festival a Success at Belmont Park

The recent Stars & Stripes Racing Festival, comprised of five graded stakes and highlighted by Catholic Boy’s thrilling victory over Analyze it in the Grade 1, $1.2 million Belmont Derby Invitational, generated all-sources handle of $24,612,465, the highest such handle figure since NYRA launched the Stars & Stripes Racing Festival in 2014.

With a paid attendance of 16,763, Saturday’s on-track handle of $3,182,221 also established a new high for the festival.

In addition to the Belmont Derby, Saturday’s blockbuster 11-race Stars & Stripes card included the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational for 3-year-old fillies, as well as the Grade 2, $700,000 Suburban, the Grade 2, $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship and the Grade 3, $300,000 Dwyer.

2014-2018 Stars & Stripes Day Handle

2014

Saturday, July 5

Races: 10

All-sources: $18,829,264

On-track: $2,825,797

2015

Saturday, July 4

Races: 11

All-sources: $20,652,065

On-track: $2,779,529

2016

Saturday, July 9

Races: 11

All-sources: $22,980,094

On-track: $2,898,826

2017

Saturday, July 8

Races: 11

All-sources: $22,341,423

On-track: $3,084,823

2018

Saturday, July 7

Races: 11

All-sources: $24,612,465

On-track: $3,182,22

source: NYRA

Is Horse Racing Dead?  Check out these latest financial reports

Successful 2018 Preakness Stakes Day in Maryland

The Stronach Group and the Maryland Jockey Club announced that total handle on Saturday’s 143rd Preakness Stakes, won by Justify, was $93,655,128.

The handle, as well as the crowd of 134,487, was the third-largest in Preakness history.

Despite rain showers, a sloppy track and dense fog, an energetic crowd was treated to 14 races, world-class dining, and entertainment featuring Post Malone, 21 Savage and ODESZA.

“It’s amazing that under the conditions, the fact field size was 6.6 compared to 8.9 the year before and we lost four turf races, our handle was $93 million,” said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. “Justify and all our equine and human athletes put on a memorable show. I want to thank all of the fans who attended and wagered on our races Saturday. They are truly remarkable. The Stronach Group is proud to be part of the history and tradition of Thoroughbred racing in Maryland. We’re committed to honoring the deep history and tradition of the Preakness while continuing to modernize the sport by offering unique entertainment and guest experiences.”

Friday Just as Successful

Despite a sloppy track and afternoon showers, a crowd of 48,265 attended Friday’s 14-race Black-Eyed Susan program at legendary Pimlico Race Course.

The crowd was the second largest in the Black-Eyed Susan’s 94-year history, just shy of last year’s record of 50,339.

The program was highlighted by seven stakes and Red Ruby’s victory in the $250,000 Xpressbet Black-Eyed Susan (G2).

Total handle for the afternoon was $18.591 million, down six percent from last year ($19.895) on an afternoon when four races were taken off the turf on a program with 35 fewer starters.

“We witnessed some impressive performances on the track from our equine and human athletes, and we received positive feedback on the upgraded facilities in the Preakness Village and Turfside Terrace and our dining rooms,” said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. “Despite races being taken off the turf, handle was strong and the crowd enjoyed the afternoon.

“We want to thank our dedicated fans and horsemen. We’re looking forward to showing off more of our improvements Saturday during Preakness 143, including a new stage for InfieldFest, a revamped infield layout, and five spectacular performers. The Stronach Group’s commitment to Thoroughhbred racing in Maryland and throughout the country are reflected by today’s impressive results.”

Source: Press Release

Keeneland 2018 Spring Meet Has Near-Record Wagering

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Kentucky

Keeneland closed its 2018 Spring Meet on Friday with near-record all-sources wagering on Keeneland of more than $157 million, highlighted by an all-time single-day handle record on Toyota Blue Grass Day and driven by full fields of quality horses and competition among the nation’s top owners, trainers and jockeys.

All-sources wagering on Keeneland racing totaled $157,172,604 for the 16-day Spring Meet, held April 6-27, ranking just behind the record of $158,640,591 set during the 16-day 2013 Spring Meet, and a 14.39 percent increase from the $137,399,556 recorded during last year’s 15-day Spring Meet. Average daily all-sources wagering of $9,823,288 rose 7.24 percent from $9,159,970 in 2017.

Keeneland painter photo by Richard J. Nilsen

copyright AgameofSkill.com

Keeneland set wagering records for all-sources handle and Pick 4 and Pick 5 pools on Toyota Blue Grass Day, April 7. Total all-sources handle was $22,634,861, eclipsing the previous record of $21,736,983 set April 9, 2016. Wagering on the All-Stakes Pick Four ending in the Toyota Blue Grass (G2) totaled $1,065,002 versus the previous record of $733,800 set April 8, 2017. The All-Stakes Pick Five handled $899,196, smashing the previous record of $653,827 from April 20, 2013.

A rollback from the takeout increase in the fall of 2017 was favorably received by horseplayers as evidenced by the substantial increase in all-sources handle.

Keeneland offered an early Pick 5 wager with a 15 percent takeout for the first time this meet on the first five races of each race day, and it was an unqualified success. Total handle for the wager over 16 days totaled $4,104,850, an average of $256,553 per day.

On-track attendance and wagering were just shy of last year’s Spring Meet totals despite inclement weather for the meet’s opening two weekends. Total attendance of 250,475 was nearly even with last spring’s 252,247. Average daily attendance of 15,655 was just short of the 16,816 in 2017.

A record crowd of 28,307 basked in the sun on Maker’s Mark Day, Friday, April 13, to surpass the previous Friday attendance mark of 24,734 established April 2, 2010. On Saturday, April 21, 37,378 fans, the fifth-highest single-day attendance in Keeneland history, celebrated the season with an afternoon of racing.

On-track wagering this spring was $17,457,750 compared to $17,668,979 last spring. Average daily on-track handle was $1,091,109 versus $1,177,932 in 2017.

“This was an exceptionally successful Spring Meet in so many ways – from near-record handle to robust attendance and racing of the highest caliber,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “Mother Nature threw us a curve ball or two, but the sometimes inclement weather never dampened the tremendous enthusiasm of our fans. We are extremely grateful to the community, our horsemen and corporate partners for their tremendous support throughout the spring.”

Source: Keeneland

Is Racing Dead? Meadowlands Fans Wagering with Both Fists

They came to play.

Meadowlands fans wagered with both hands throughout last Saturday night’s 13-race program and despite only two horses paying $10 or more and six races that saw favorites emerge victorious, the betting swelled to a new 2018 high.

For the first time this year, wagering surpassed the magic $3 million mark. In fact, it wasn’t merely surpassed, it was smashed.

The all-source total handle of $3,454,633 easily outdistanced the industry handle leader’s previous 2018 best, which was $2,790,201 on Jan. 27. The corresponding race card a year ago saw $2,581,495 bet on 12 races.

The on-track, on-product play totaled $296,916.

The Pick-5 carryover of $30,202 served as a catalyst for not only that wager, but for the entire night, as $230,199 in “new money” was poured into the Pick-5 pot. The third race, which is the first leg of the bet, saw $422,271 in total play.

After a formful sequence that saw the odds of the winners come back 7-2, 7-2, 6-5, 3-1 and even-money, many winning Pick-5 tickets for $541.70 were cashed after the total pool of over $260,000 was divvied up.

But there was more.

The 20-Cent Survivor Pick 10 once again saw big play (a total pool of $20,005), and, once again, it resulted in a ‘jackpot’ as one lucky winner, betting into the Portland, Ore. hub, walked away with $17,000.54 after surviving seven legs.

The Early 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five resulted in a single-ticket winner, and that patron, wagering into the Maryland hub, cashed in for $7,622.70 at the conclusion of the ninth race.

About the only big pot not raked belonged to the Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five (Race 13), which once again failed to produce a single-ticket winner. That wager’s carryover now stands at $126,952.