As the Breeders' Cup World Championships approaches its 30th edition, some things have become standard from an operations perspective, while others continue to change. As questions are answered, new ones are asked.
The California Horse Racing Board put its stamp on the racing industry's plan for stabling Thoroughbreds in the immediate post-Betfair Hollywood Park era during its meeting Oct. 24.
Breeders' Cup was approved Sept. 19 to card a $150,000 stakes for Arabians on the first day of its World Championships, but not before the CHRB grilled the organization on its plan to shift all or part of the money to purses.
Jimmy Bell, Craig Bernick, Bob Elliston, Rachel Kukulewich join Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance board of directors.
The Board of Directors of the Kentucky Equine Education Project has added five new members.
Breeders' Cup is prepared to take a hit in pari-mutuel handle given the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast even though many wagering outlets were back in operation Nov. 2.
Gulfstream Park could make a serious bid to host a future Breeders' Cup World Championships, officials confirmed Nov. 2.
Bob Elliston, who took over as chief operating officer at Breeders' Cup earlier this year, said the organization is assessing its position and working to improve the overall experience the World Championships has to offer.
The Breeders' Cup announced today that its "Text to Donate" campaign has received a contribution of $10,000 from the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.
A flight carrying a contingent of Breeders' Cup horses from New York to California was rescheduled to 1 a.m. EDT Oct. 29 and was able to take off as Hurricane Sandy approached the Northeast, Breeders' Cup officials said.
Dirt Mile, Juvenile, and Sprint will shift in their race order on the Nov. 3 Breeders' Cup card while Friday's card remains the same.
In continuing support of a national program for retired racehorses, the Breeders' Cup announced Oct. 23 that it has created a Text to Donate campaign that will allow fans to contribute to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
Several industry groups, including 13 prominent breeding farms in Kentucky, have developed plans to provide funds beginning in 2013 to support the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
- By Tom LaMarra
Bill Thomason, who took over as president and chief executive officer at Keeneland Sept. 1, has been named to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors.
Gotham Stakes (gr. III) winner Hansen wrapped up his week at Turfway Park with a paddock appearance the evening of March 9, but his majority owner reaffirmed that the colt will run next in New York, not Kentucky.
In yet another sign of trouble for the Kentucky horse racing industry, Turfway Park said it will slash overnight purses 25% effective March 3 because of an overpayment coupled with lower pari-mutuel handle.
The ability to fill a greater number of higher-level races in December has led Turfway Park to trim some stakes toward the end of its 2012 winter/spring meet to meet the purse budget.
Turfway Park will end its experiment with Saturday night racing effective Jan. 14, when it switches to a 1:10 p.m. first post.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors has approved an $8 million budget for 2012 and reaffirmed its commitment to move forward, even in the absence of several high-profile members.
Turfway Park will ask the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for permission to lower the pari-mutuel takeout rate on Pick 4 wagers to 14% from 22% effective Jan. 1, 2012.
With only a slight modification from the original proposal approved previously by a committee, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Oct. 24 unanimously OK'd 2012 racing dates for the state's racetracks.
With Instant Racing off to a successful start at Kentucky Downs, other tracks in the Bluegrass state are making plans to usher in the form of electronic gaming.
Trainer Joe Woodard, second in the nation in victories this year, was ordered to remove his horses from Turfway Park after he scratched six horses entered Sept. 16 with about 30 minutes to post time for the first race.
The grade II Kentucky Cup Classic, which returns to Turfway Park in September after a one-year hiatus, will have a new distance and new name, track officials said Aug. 18.
A committee has approved use of $100,000 from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund for several Kentucky Cup races, but it remains to be seen whether the stakes series--at least part of it--will be run.
Efforts to restore the Kentucky Cup Day of Champions at Turfway Park in September are ongoing, but the return of the stakes program could hinge on sponsorships.
Horse racing needs to take a "major league" approach in order to increase economic opportunities and spur investment, National Thoroughbred Racing Association executive chairman Bob Elliston said May 4.
Officials wouldn't comment April 8 on growing rumors of an impending ownership change at Turfway Park in Kentucky, but they did say plans call for live racing to continue.
Turfway Park reported across-the-board increases in pari-mutuel handle for its 2011 winter/spring meet in the face of national figures that show total handle on United States racing is down 8.5% for the same period.
An effort by Kentucky horsemen to keep Turfway Park open for off-season training and stabling has failed, meaning the Northern Kentucky track will close its barn area in mid-April.
In yet another sign of the Kentucky horse industry's economic troubles, Turfway Park has told horsemen it plans to close its barn area in mid-April rather than remain open in the spring and summer as a training center.
Officials at Turfway Park, which at the end of 2010 completed five full years of racing on Polytrack, said the results have been largely positive, and there is no thought of returning to dirt.
Turfway Park, in an attempt to drive ontrack business, hopes to replicate its Friday night success by switching to an evening post time on Saturdays beginning Feb. 5.
Turfway Park, which raced four days a week instead of five during its holiday meet, reported an increase in average daily ontrack wagering but as expected a decrease in average daily all-sources pari-mutuel handle.
Faced with making a decision brought about by the battering of the Kentucky horse racing industry, Turfway Park has opted to cut some overnight purses in order to maintain a weekly stakes schedule.
For the first time in several years, horsemen and management at Turfway Park are at odds over terms of a contract that would be in effect for the holiday meet that begins Dec. 2 and runs through Dec. 31.
After two years of major cutbacks in live racing, Kentucky's Thoroughbred racetracks are hoping for some stability and are maintaining the status quo in their requests for 2011 dates.
Another experimental year continues in Kentucky as Ellis Park wraps up its summer meet and Turfway Park prepares for a scaled-down session with only one stakes.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on July 20 approved a request from Turfway Park to cut four Wednesday cards from its fall meet, reducing the meet from 20 to 16 days and all but one stakes race.
- By Tom LaMarra
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association is moving on in the wake of the defection of Churchill Downs Inc. for at least this year.
A reduction in live racing dates during the Turfway Park winter/spring meet resulted in an expected drop in total handle, but daily averages increased from the 2009 meet.
A surprisingly good night for business on a winter evening at Turfway Park doesn't hide the fact Kentucky's year-round Thoroughbred racing industry is in serious trouble.
Aside from the issue of when to close betting pools, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is debating a recommendation that racetracks made good on winning wagers that aren't merged into pools.
A controversial recommendation to halt wagering at zero minutes to post time at all racetracks was shelved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Oct. 27 pending a public meeting at which the issue will be further vetted.
The harsh competitive environment in which Kentucky racing finds itself was on displayed in black and white Oct. 26 when a subcommittee of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission considered applications from Thoroughbred racetracks that signal a drastic reduction in live racing dates for 2010.
Kentucky's horse racing and breeding industry plans to stand its ground in the wake of a proposal for a constitutional amendment on gaming some have characterized as a politically-motivated stall tactic.
The owner of Ellis Park said Sept. 29 the struggling Kentucky racetrack will apply for racing dates in 2010, while the president of Turfway Park said the track would seek fewer racing dates next year.
Kentucky horsemen are hoping "light at the end of the tunnel" could help facilitate a contract for the upcoming Turfway Park meet.
A reduction in stakes purses for its upcoming meet will allow Turfway Park to maintain overnight purses and racing days, but track officials are thinking ahead to 2010, when that probably won't be the case.
Ellis Park owner Ron Geary said June 24 it's too soon to say a commitment from the racing industry and legislators to fight for racetrack gaming will keep his track open beyond the 2009 season. Meanwhile, Turfway Park and the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association plan to sit down soon to devise a plan that could include reductions in purses and racing dates for future meets.
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