Colonial Downs Racetrack Sets $2.23M Daily Wagering Record

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Virginia

Bettors laid down a record $2.23 million in average daily wagers on horse races at Colonial Downs Racetrack in New Kent during this year’s annual race meet, Colonial Downs Group announced this week.

The total amount bet on races during the seven-week racing season was $46.87 million, and a total of $10.4 million in purses were paid to owners, jockeys and trainers, averaging $522,000 per day. The program had 205 races and 1,713 horses in gates at the starts of races, for an average of more than 8 horses per race during the third season under the Colonial Downs Group banner.

Races were held Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from July 19 through Sept. 1 during this year’s racing season, the third held under the Colonial Downs Group banner. The racetrack’s 2020 meet was canceled after about two weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is so gratifying to see the continued revival of Virginia racing as we mark new all-time handle [amount bet] heights,” John Marshall, Colonial Downs Group executive vice president of operations, said in a statement. “We have held true to our promise of building Colonial Downs into one of the country’s elite boutique meets. We thank our horsemen, fans and team for doing their part in making it so.”

Turns Out, Horse Racing isn’t quite dead yet

Belmont Park crowd

copyright Agameofskill.com. 

Horse racing is dead, right?

That’s all we’ve heard for the last decade or two, much less years. All those horrible equine fatalities at Santa Anita a couple of years back. All those Bob Baffert drug positives in all those high-profile races. All those PETA protests against a sport thought to be well past its prime, one on a slow, agonizing path to extinction.

Don’t tell that to the bettors.

Don’t tell that to the 15,874 who turned out for opening day at Del Mar last week, leading to a record handle of $21,339,643. The California seaside track’s weekend handle: A cool $80.5 million, a 17 percent increase over 2019, the last time fans were allowed to visit the beautiful venue.

Don’t tell that to the 27,760 who turned out for opening day at Saratoga, generating a record $21,935,534 handle. That set the stage for a four-day all-sources handle of $90.1 million. Last Saturday’s handle was $32,117,869 for the 11 races. And the Travers, Saratoga’s signature stakes race, isn’t until Aug. 28.

Don’t tell that to the 20,983 who showed up at Monmouth Park for last Saturday’s Haskell Invitational, which helped produce a $16.4 million handle. And that was without a Kentucky Derby winner in the field because, well, at this point, we don’t really have an official Kentucky Derby winner.

By now we’ve heard the horse-racing-is-dead narrative so long it has almost been taken for granted. The popular storyline persists that there just isn’t much interest in Thoroughbred racing beyond the passionate subset that clings to the sport…

Will Horse Racing Survive in New Mexico?

New Mexico horse owners struggle with no racing at Sunland ParkNM Horse owners struggle with no racing at Sunland Park

The entire racing season at Sunland Park was officially canceled on Feb. 18 after being on hold for months, and it has now forced many horse owners trainers to reassess their situation.

Some have chosen to make the tough call and move their entire stable elsewhere to ensure their livelihood and that of their staffs.

Others have chosen to stay put because moving would cost too much money. In turn, they’ve had to sell some horses to keep others fed and stay afloat.

“If we were to have ran our full meet, they wouldn’t have made any money here,” said Rick Baugh, the general manager of Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. “There just wasn’t enough purse money to go around.”

The driver of purse money is the casino and because it had been closed until just recently, the purse money was very limited.

According to Baugh, it was at an approximate $1.4 million, which wouldn’t go very far at Sunland Park…

I wonder… is the casino open?

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Japan

Japanese horse racing posts solid growth despite challengesJapanese horse racing posts solid growth despite challenges

Japanese horse racing recorded strong sales growth in 2020, in spite of economic uncertainties and the coronavirus pandemic. Both central and local horse racing are defying covid-19 challenges out of the race.

Horse racing as usual albeit without fans

The Japan Racing Association (JRA) reported its ninth consecutive year of sales growth with the annual turnover exceeding $28.6 billion, an increase by 103.5% from the previous year. Despite the challenging situation in times of COVID-19, Japanese central horse racing neither rescheduled or canceled a single event but maintained its full 2020 calendar.

The races were held without a spectator for over 7 months between February and October, however, the central horse racing has seen no major impact on overall sales. The cancellation of major racing events outside Japan also contributed to some of the star horses running in domestic races, which made certain races more appealing to fans.

Local horse racing also reported a jump in sales by 31% on a monthly basis, compared to that of the previous year. The stock price of the local Tokyo horse racing plummeted in March last year due to concerns over the negative impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the shares bounced back by October and traded above $56 for the first time since 1994.

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Indiana

“To get 96 racing days in during these unprecedented times is a real credit to the Indiana Horse Racing Commission (IHRC) staff, our horsemen and our very dedicated group of employees,” said Eric Halstrom, vice president and general manager of racing. “When you consider that we did all of that while breaking every handle record on the books makes the season a success by any measure.”

Indiana Grand Racing & Casino completed its 18th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing Thursday, Nov. 18. The abbreviated 96-day season offered 92 days of combined Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing along with four days dedicated directly to the sprinters to set a new record of $198,960,722

IndianaRecord numbers were posted throughout the season. The track recorded its highest single program handle on the Indiana Derby Wednesday, July 8 with a total of $5,979,952 wagered on the 12-race card. The Indiana Derby race alone garnered $1,026,395, which was a single race record for the track. The four-day race period also marked the best week ever in the 18-year history of racing for Indiana Grand with a total of $13,176,192 wagered.

Overall, the track saw an increase of 60.93 percent over 2019. A total of $198,960,722 was wagered from all sources in 2020 compared to $123,635,376 in 2019, which is 31 more percent handle with 26 less days in 2020.

Quarter Horse racing also saw a 17.33 percent increase in 2020. Total handle for Quarter Horse racing in 2020 was 20,143,348.30 compared to $17,168,338 in 2019 with two less all-Quarter Horse days held in 2020 compared to 2019. The track recorded its largest single card handle on an all-Quarter Horse day with $819,708.35 wagered on the Saturday, Aug. 8 program.

The final week of racing also established some records as a total of $3,869,898 was wagered on the final program of the year Thursday, Nov. 19, marking the largest handle on a non-Indiana Derby racing card in the history of the track. In all, a total of six days in 2020 showed handle in excess of $3 million. Only one card all season containing Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing did not eclipse $1 million in total handle, which was a shortened two-race day due to weather cancellation. The total of 91 days with handle in excess of $1 million is also a track record for Indiana Grand.

Racing dates for 2021 will be reviewed and expected to be approved by the IHRC at their monthly meeting in December. Indiana Grand hopes to return to its regular 120- racing season including six days dedicated to Quarter Horse racing.

Source: Indiana Grand

Breeders’ Cup Registers Sixth-Highest Handle in Two-day History

Breeders CupTotal all-sources handle for the two-day Breeders’ Cup Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland was $160,472,894, the sixth-highest total since the Breeders’ Cup expanded to a two-day event in 2007 and an 8% decrease from the 2019 record handle of $174,000,574 at Santa Anita Park.

Breeders’ Cup did not report attendance figures this year at Keeneland with no paid spectators allowed as a COVID-19 safety precaution. Owners and their guests, breeders, participating horsemen, and media were allowed to attend—a group that perhaps numbered in the low thousands.

Despite a sharply reduced crowd, this year’s total handle represented a 7% increase from the 2015 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland…

An unlikely comeback for horse racing?

Longtime race horse owner Armand Janjigian knows all about calculating the odds, but he still wants to rescue the state’s thoroughbred racing industry, even if it’s a long shot.

The business consultant and owner of the Kingsbury health clubs in Medfield and Kingston just turned 86. But he’s not ready to ride into the sunset.

Instead, he is plotting an unlikely comeback for thoroughbreds [in Massachusetts]. Janjigian is piecing together more than 300 acres near Interstate 84 in Sturbridge to build a new racetrack. He’s lining up investors for the $25 million-plus project. And he is working with town officials to rewrite the zoning rules to allow racing, and the gambling that would go along with it…

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Washington

Emerald Downs increases horse racing purses

Emerald Downs in Auburn has announced a 10% purse increase for all races the final three weeks of the 2020 live horse racing season.

The track runs races on Wednesday and Thursday, with the season ending Oct. 29.

Through 30 days of live racing, handle is averaging $1.87 million, up 67% over last year.

Emerald Downs President Phil Ziegler said the purse increase is a result of better than expected handle…

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not Yet

September Derby Brings Bettors, Handle Boost to Racing Economic Totals

Horseplayers wagered more than $3.2 billion in the third quarter. That represents a 12.73% bump from 2019’s figures of $2.92 billion.

At the same time, America’s most wagered race running the first Saturday in September instead of the first Saturday in May resulted in a 29.64% increase in September 2020 wagering. Bettors put down more than $1.039 billion in September, compared to $801.98 million in 2019. A September Derby was a big reason why.

That even came with a decline in Kentucky Derby day wagering, which Churchill Downs attributes to the lack of on-track wagering and a prohibitive favorite in Tiz the Law. The Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes champion lost a fierce stretch battle to Authentic…

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Maryland Racing Industry at Crossroads

Total wagering on the rescheduled, closed-door Preakness Stakes program at Pimlico last Saturday was down nearly 50% from its 2019 renewal, a pandemic-impacted decline similar to that experienced at the Kentucky Derby, which was moved from May to September.

Even in pre-pandemic times, a majority of wagering on horse racing is conducted online, through legal betting platforms like BetPTC.com, TwinSpires, TVG and Xpressbet. Since March, almost all wagering comes via these channels. Betting in person has grown increasingly rare in the internet era, and even more so in 2020. For perspective, of the $369 million bet on races at Laurel Park in 2019, the Maryland Racing Commission’s annual report records that $350.2 million, nearly 95%, came from bettors outside of Maryland…