Edited press release
Turfway Park has reached an agreement with Racing UK Ltd. and Phumelela Gold Enterprises to act as agent to distribute the simulcast signals of the best British racing to the North American market, the parties announced March 15.
The agreement makes available race meets from the United Kingdom's top tracks, including Aintree, Ayr, Chester, Epsom Downs, Goodwood, Haydock Park, Kempton Park, Newbury, Newmarket, Sandown Park, Salisbury, and York. The first simulcast will originate from Kempton Park near London March 31, coinciding with distribution of the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) card in North America.
The regular schedule will begin April 9 and continue through the end of October, generally Monday through Saturday. While the time difference means some major races will be run in the morning in the United States, the UK's annual season of twilight racing from late April to late August will put the races squarely in the afternoon in most of the U.S.
"With more tracks on this side of the Atlantic going to all-weather surfaces such as Turfway's Polytrack, and with advances in wagering technology, the barriers between North American bettors and outstanding British racing are coming down," Turfway Park president Bob Elliston said. "This agreement opens the way for racing to become an international sport in the truest interactive sense. Turfway is proud to work with the innovators at Racing UK and Phumelela to make it happen.”
Bettors in the U.S. will be able to play all races on a program, including major stakes. With races in Great Britain run solely on turf or all-weather surfaces, bettors will have the opportunity to widen the scope of their play as well as follow international Breeders' Cup candidates firsthand.
Under the agreement, Phumelela Gold Enterprises will provide tote services, connectivity to the pools of UK Horserace Totalizator Board, and program and past-performance information.
"Phumelela’s partnership with Racing UK has produced excellent results for the export of British racing," said John Stuart, director of international marketing and operations for Phumelela Gold Enterprises. "We’re delighted to be working with Turfway Park to further develop this outstanding simulcasting product in the North American market.”
The groundwork for the arrangement was laid last August when tracks in the UK began taking entries two days in advance of racing instead of the day before. The change allows Equibase, the North American Thoroughbred racing industry database, to include Racing UK program and past-performance data alongside the same information for U.S. races.
Said Simon Bazalgette, executive chairman of Racing UK: "We're very pleased to be working with Phumelela and Turfway Park in North America. This, together with the recent introduction of a 48-hour entry cycle in the United Kingdom, creates a platform for the growth of interest in British racing. It also brings Turfway Park into the increasingly important network of international alliances between racecourse groups."
Launched in May 2004, Racing UK is wholly owned by 30 of the United Kingdom's top racecourses and is a groundbreaking venture by a sports rights holder to own and market its media rights.
Phumelela Gold Enterprises serves as the international distribution agent for simulcasts of British racing from the 30 tracks that own Racing UK. Phumelela Gaming and Leisure Ltd. is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa. It operates the South African tote, SAFTote, as well as the racecourses in seven of South Africa's nine provinces, and it manages a media joint venture with Gold Circle, the owner of the racecourses in the remaining two provinces.
Phumelela also operates the Tellytrack channel, which broadcasts South African and British races across South Africa.