Horse racing handle up 176% per day in April

Is Horse Racing Dead?

When the economic indicators on thoroughbred racing were released by Equibase this week, there was one number that leapt off the page. Average wagering per day was up 176% this month when compared to last April.

Yes, in a month where there were virtually no American sporting events, horse racing was front-and-center and the tracks that didn’t close, like Gulfstream and Oaklawn, did an average of $7.5 million in handle, up from $2.7 million this time last year.

Total wagering, which includes the numbers from all the tracks that are closed due to the pandemic, was down 24.4% year over year, but considering that race days were down 72% and some of April’s biggest races were canceled, it’s an incredible win for horse racing.

“It was similar to the 20s and 30s, when horse racing was the only game in town,” said New York Racing Association chief revenue officer Tony Allevato. NYRA canceled its horse races, but it has had a steady stream of business thanks to New Yorkers betting through …

Is Horse Racing Dead? Stagnant Last Year

Purses Up, Pari-Mutuel Handle Down in 2019 – according to The BloodHorse

This year’s U.S. purse total is the highest since 2007, a pre-Great Recession year with more than $1.18 billion in purses. Compared with 2007 this year’s purses were recorded at a time of reduced racing—down 42%. Considering that reduction in racing, the average purse per race in 2019 compared with 2007 is up 40.2% to $32,256.

While purses improved in 2019, the rash of breakdowns at Santa Anita Park that forced the Southern California track to halt racing after its March 8 card before reopening March 29, likely impacted pari-mutuel wagering. Wagering on U.S. races in 2019 was down 2% to $11,038,790,395 compared with last year.

More about 2019:

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Remington and Woodbine Report Solid Handle Figures

Woodbine All-Sources Handle Second-Largest in History

Woodbine Entertainment announced Dec. 18 that the 2019 Thoroughbred meet produced an all-sources handle of $516,189,880.80—the second-largest in its history and the third consecutive year the Ontario track exceeded half a billion dollars.

The 131-day (with two cancellations) meet included 1,212 races, 45 fewer than last year, which contributed to the all-sources handle being down 3.2% compared to 2018. Average field size per race was also a contributing factor; it was 8.2 in 2019 compared to 8.3 last year.

Remington Park

The 2019 Remington Park Thoroughbred season concluded Dec. 15 and again experienced increases in total pari-mutuel handle for the 67-date schedule, the track announced Dec. 19.

Total handle on Remington Park racing was $76,885,108, up 7.1% compared to 2018 when the Thoroughbred season generated $71,798,190. It marked the third consecutive season the Oklahoma track’s handle increased over the previous year.

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.

68k Attend Hong Kong Racing at Sha Tin

Hong Kong horse racingPositive start to Hong Kong’s 2019/20 season

Hong Kong’s 2019/20 season opened today, Sunday, 1 September, with an enthusiastic crowd of 68,271 cheering on their sporting heroes in an atmosphere of positivity at Sha Tin racecourse.

Race goers roared loudest for 13-time champion jockey Douglas Whyte, who saddled his first winner as a trainer.

Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We know that we are in challenging times here in Hong Kong but I found it very encouraging to see the positive energy that was created at the racecourse today.

“The first-race atmosphere, the excited anticipation from the racegoers, was extremely good and the results, from a sporting point of view, were extremely pleasing: It was great to see Douglas Whyte have his first winner with only his second runner.”

The CEO was also delighted with the five successes on the day for Hong Kong’s home-grown riders, all of whom are products of the world renowned HKJC Apprentice Jockeys’ School.

“Our Hong Kong-grown talent has done extremely well today,” he said. “You can see the confidence in Vincent Ho, in how he rides, and it is encouraging for them to win five of the 10 races despite the significant increase in competition from our new arrivals, who also did well today without winning.”

Turnover was HK$1.28 billion, while the attendance was the fourth highest in the last 25 years.

“We are very pleased to see the total attendance at 68,000 – that is a positive outcome and exceeded the expectation I had,” Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges admitted.

“I was really surprised that we could hold up the attendance to this level, which is similar to the crowd we had here on the opening day in 2017. I hope this shows Hong Kong racing is strong and we hope we can continue with this positive momentum.

“The turnover was up by HK$35 million to HK$1.28 billion, and again, I have to admit that I expected it to be much lower today. Our commingling turnover has gone up from HK$158 million on this day last year to over HK$209 million. That shows the competitiveness of the overseas market.”

Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges thanked the city’s racing fans for the “tremendous support and the resilience they have shown” in a challenging situation. “We have got the first race meeting off the ground with a positive start and that emphasises the strong support we have from our fans. I would also like to thank our staff for their dedication to make this happen” he said.

Is Horse Racing Dead? Travers Card Sets Records

2019 Travers Stakes Card sets Record Handle numbers

Source: NYRA Press Office

For the second consecutive year, the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) generated a Travers Day record all-sources handle as fans wagered $52,129,344 on an afternoon that featured the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers.

On-track handle was  $11,657,493, which is also a new Travers Day record.

Saratoga canopy walk throughA paid crowd of 48,213 witnessed Code of Honor secure the fourth Travers victory for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey and second for Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. Code of Honor, owned by William S. Farish and Lane’s End Farm, posted a final time of 2:01.05 in the Runhappy Travers.

For the first time in history, fans nationwide watched the Runhappy Travers action unfold on the FOX Broadcast Network as part of a special one-hour telecast. Overall, the FOX Sports family of networks broadcast 6 ½ hours of live racing action from Saratoga which included all seven graded stakes on Travers Day.

The 150th Runhappy Travers was one of six Grade 1s on Travers Day, including the Grade 1, $850,000 Sword Dancer; Grade 1, $700,000 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti; Grade 1, $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina; Grade 1, $600,000 Forego presented by Encore Boston Harbor; and Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial presented by Runhappy. Rounding out the blockbuster card is the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa.

The 2019 summer meet at historic Saratoga Race Course continues through Labor Day, Monday, September 2. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit NYRA.com.

Travers Day Handle 2015-2019

2019 Travers Day

August 24, 2019

All-sources: $52,129,344

On-track: $11,657,493

 

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

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/.