Is Horse Racing Dead? Nearly $1 Billion in Handle at Gulfstream Park Meet

No, It’s Not

Gulfstream Park shattered total handle records during its 89-day Championship Meet, highlighted by The Stronach Group’s innovative $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) and $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1).

Total handle during the Championship Meet was $957 million, eclipsing last year’s record of $867 million by 10.4 percent. Handle including total simulcast was $1.021 billion. On-track handle was up $3.9 million.

pegasus world cup logoThe Jan. 27 Pegasus World Cup Invitational, the world’s richest race won by Horse of the Year Gun Runner, handled a record $41.9 million. That record was broken on Florida Derby Day when total handle was $49.9 million.

Gulfstream also become the first par-mutuel facility outside Latin America or the Caribbean to host the Clasico Internacional del Caribe, featuring horses from countries in the Confederacion Hipica del Caribe competing in five stakes races, including the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe.

“The Championship Meet was an extraordinary 89 days of world-class racing, exceptional dining and incredible events,” said Gulfstream Park General Manager Bill Badgett. “We want to thank the fans who witnessed many of the world’s greatest equine athletes and jockeys and we want to thank the horsemen and owners from around the world for supporting our meet.

“The Stronach Group is creating an entirely new way to experience the races while embracing generations of new fans through world-class entertainment and events. We look forward to our Spring/Summer meet and building on our year-round program and preparing for another memorable Championship Meet in 2018-2019.”

Audible’s victory in the Xpressbet.com Florida Derby highlighted an afternoon of seven stakes (five graded) worth $2.3 million. Audible will now attempt to become the 25th Florida Derby winner to win the Kentucky Derby (G1). Audible could also become the fourth Florida Derby winner in six years to win the Run for the Roses.

For the second consecutive year the Pegasus attracted the world’s best Thoroughbreds. Just two days after being named Horse of the Year at the Eclipse Awards held at Gulfstream, Gun Runner ran away from 11 others to win the Pegasus.

Is Horse Racing Dead? Churchill Downs to Offer up nearly $9 Million in Purses

Churchill winner's circleThe 144th renewals of the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) and the $1 million-guaranteed Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) headline a strong roster of 32 stakes races with total purses of $8.84 million scheduled for Churchill Downs Racetrack’s April 28-June 30 Spring Meet.

The schedule is headlined by a spectacular Kentucky Derby Day on Saturday, May 5 that features seven graded stakes races – including three Grade I events – with total stakes purses of $4.2 million. The Kentucky Oaks Day program one day earlier features six graded stakes with total stakes purses of $2.35 million. Another highlight is the “Downs After Dark” nighttime program on Saturday, June 16, featuring five graded stakes, topped by the 37th running of the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (GI), with total stakes purses of $1.1 million.

The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks are among six Grade I races on the Spring Meet schedule that also features seven Grade II events, 10 Grade III contests, one listed $100,000 event, two additional $100,000 stakes and six overnight stakes races that offer purses of $65,000-added. The Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks and Stephen Foster Handicap programs are among seven racing days that will feature two or more stakes contests. Alongside the Derby, Oaks and Stephen Foster Handicap, Grade I events set for the 2018 meet are the $500,000 Old Forester Turf Classic and $300,000 Humana Distaff on Derby Day and the Oaks Day renewal of the $350,000 La Troienne.

Four events on the Spring Meet schedule will benefit from individual purse increases of $50,000. Those races are the $300,000 Pat Day Mile Presented by LG&E and KU(GIII) on Derby Day and the Oaks Day renewals of the $350,000 La Troienne, the $200,000 Edgewood Presented by Forcht Bank (GIII) and the $200,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (GIII).

Along with the running of the Kentucky Derby, America’s greatest race and the nation’s oldest continuously-held sports event, a trio of Grade I events on the Derby Day racing program includes the 32nd running of the Old Forester Turf Classic (formerly known as the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic from 2000-17) for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on the grass; the 32nd renewal of the Humana Distaff, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares ages 4 and up. Completing the spectacular roster of seven Derby Day graded stakes events will be the $500,000 Churchill Downs (GII) for 4-year-olds and up at seven furlongs; the $300,000 Longines Distaff Turf Mile (GII) for fillies and mares 4-year-olds and up at one mile on turf; the Pat Day Mile for 3-year-olds at one mile on the main track; and the $300,000 American Turf Presented by Ram Trucks (GIII) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course.

The 2017 Kentucky Derby was won by MeB Racing, Brooklyn Boyz, Theresa Viola, St Elias, Siena Farm and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Always Dreaming, while Gunpowder Farms LLC’s Divisidero earned his second consecutive victory in the Turf Classic. Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Paulassilverlining won the Humana Distaff.

The six stakes races on the Friday, May 4 Kentucky Oaks Day program are headed by the Oaks, America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies, which will be run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track, and the La Troienne (GI), a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares ages 4 and up. The Oaks Day schedule also features the $400,000 Alysheba (GII) for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles; the $200,000 Eight Belles Presented by Kentucky Trailer (GII) for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs; the Edgewood (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on turf; and the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (GIII) for 3-year-olds and up at five furlongs on turf.

China Horse Club International Ltd. and Clearsky Farm’s Abel Tasman rallied from last in a field of 14 to win the 2017 Kentucky Oaks, while Maggi Moss’ Big World took the La Troienne.

The Stephen Foster Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds and up, is the main even on the June 16 night racing program the features five stakes contests. Joining the Grade I headliner will be the $200,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (GII) for fillies and mares ages 3 and up at 1 1/8 miles; the $200,000 Wise Dan (GII) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on turf; the $100,000 Matt Winn (GIII) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles; and the $100,000 Regret (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

The Stephen Foster was won last year by Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC and Three Chimneys Farm LLC’s Gun Runner, who would go on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) and Eclipse Awards for Horse of the Year and the Champion Older Male of 2017.

Other multiple stakes programs include the Kentucky Derby Week Thurby program on Thursday, May 3 that includes the $100,000 Kentucky Juvenile for 2-year-olds at five furlongs and the Opening Verse Overnight Stakes for 3-year-olds and one mile on turf; the Saturday, May 26 card topped by the $100,000 Winning Colors (GIII) for fillies and mares 3 and up at six furlongs and the Keertana Overnight Stakes for fillies and mares 3 and up at 1 ½ miles on turf; the Saturday, June 2 “Downs After Dark” program topped by the $100,000 Aristides (GIII) for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs and the Mighty Beau Overnight Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at five furlongs on turf; and the Saturday, June 30 closing day program with a trio of stakes races led by the $100,000 Bashford Manor (GIII) for 2-year-olds at six furlongs, the $100,000 Debutante (Listed) for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs, and the Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at seven furlongs.

The Spring Meet stales schedule kicks off under the lights during the Opening Night celebration on Saturday, April 28. The night’s racing program will be highlighted by the $100,000 William Walker, a race for 3-year-olds named for the pioneering African-American jockey and Kentucky Derby winner which will be run for the fourth time. The William Walker is the only race on the Spring Meet schedule that will undergo a change in racing surface or distance. The race will now be run on the turf at five furlongs after being run on the main track at six furlongs in its first three renewals.

Other graded stakes contests on the schedule include the $100,000 Louisville Handicap (GIII) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 ½ miles on turf on May 19, and the Old Forester Mint Julep Handicap (GIII), a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares 3 and up on June 9. Two additional overnight stakes races complete the schedule: the May 12 Unbridled Sydney for fillies and mares 3 and up at five furlongs on turf, and the June 23 Roxelana, for fillies and mares 3 and up at six furlongs on the main track.

Is Horse Racing Dead? 2017 Breeders’ Cup a $96.8 Million Impact on San Diego

Del mar chantal billboardThe Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which were contested at Del Mar racetrack for the first time in 2017, generated $96.8 million in direct and indirect economic benefits for San Diego County, according to an economic impact study.

Source: Breeders’ Cup a $96.8 Million Impact on San Diego

Is Horse Racing Dead? Oaklawn Park Raises Purses Again

Press Release

Purse records keep tumbling at the track with the richest purses in America between January and April.

Starting with the March 17 Rebel Stakes card, Oaklawn will implement the second increase of the season, the 18th straight year the Hot Springs track has bumped purses at least once during a meet. Overnight purses will be bumped between $1,000 and $3,000. Maiden Special Weights and Allowances races are growing by $3,000 per race, taking the Maidens to $81,000 and the Allowances to as high as $85,000.

Logo Oaklawn Park racingAdditionally, claiming races and maiden claiming races with a claiming price of $20,000 or greater as well as starter allowances are receiving a $2,000 increase. Other races are receiving a $1,000 bump.

“We believe Arkansas through Oaklawn may have the best racing-gaming model in America,” said Louis Cella, President of Oaklawn. “Racing will always come first, but thanks to our vibrant gaming business we are able to offer the rich purses that attract the large fields and adds to the excitement our fans get to enjoy. Even with a rainy February, we still treated our guests to a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience.”

The March 17 card was already the second richest of the Oaklawn season with the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) for aspiring Derby hopefuls, the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares and $300,000 Essex Handicap for older colts and geldings. With the increase, purses are projected to be more than $2 million this day.

“We’re excited to reward our owners and trainers with the second purse increase of the season,” said Wayne Smith, General Manager of Oaklawn. “Our best races are still to come and we’re looking forward to watching the country’s best 3-year-olds prepare for the Triple Crown races.”

Live racing at Oaklawn continues through Saturday, April 14.

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.

Horse Racing is a Winner at Gulfstream Park

Horse Racing is a Winner at Gulfstream Park.  Check out the success story below…

Source: Horse Racing is a Winner at Gulfstream Park

Horse racing track Ascot announces record prize money for 2018

Ascot racecourse in UKHorse racing-Ascot announces record prize money for 2018 Daily Mail Record 2018 Prize-Money At Ascot Thoroughbred Daily News Full coverage

Source: Horse racing-Ascot announces record prize money for 2018

Successful 2017 Aqueduct Winter Meet

Is Horse Racing Dead?

Press Release

The 2017 Aqueduct Fall Meet generated all-sources handle on NYRA races of $250,376,535, an increase of 7.6 percent over the 2016 Aqueduct Fall Meet.

Average daily handle from the 36 days of live racing was $6,954,904; a 1.6 percent increase over 2016.

The 2017 Aqueduct Fall Meet, from November 3 to December 31, was the first meet contested since the construction of a new, outer turf course and renovation of the main track oval to accommodate year-round racing.

In 2017, NYRA moved the Grade 1 Cigar Mile back one week from its traditional date on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, scheduling the fall meet’s signature race four weeks after the Breeders’ Cup. The purse was also increased from $500,000 to $750,000.

The Cigar Mile Day card, highlighted by Sharp Azteca’s victory in the 29th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets, generated all-sources handle of $13,545,188, marking an 11.8 percent increase over 2016’s Cigar Mile Day.

Total handle for the 2017 Aqueduct Fall Meet, which is inclusive of import wagering on non-NYRA races, was $303,182,961.

During the Aqueduct Fall Meet, live racing was canceled due to adverse weather conditions on November 19, December 13, December 28, and December 31. The final five races of the December 30 card were also canceled.

2017 Aqueduct Fall Meet (NYRA races)

* All-sources handle: $250,376,535
* All-sources average daily handle: $6,954,904
* Race days: 36
* 2017 On-track handle: $28,099,665

2016 Aqueduct Fall Meet (NYRA races)

* All-sources handle: $232,645,188
* All-sources average daily handle: 6,842,506
* Race days: 34
* On-track handle: $27,554,724

Please note, all handle figures are exclusive of international settlements.

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