Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course recently concluded its winter-spring meet and showed a 31% rise in daily average handle for the 65-day stand.
Oaklawn Park concluded the 2016 live racing season April 16 with across-the-board increases in handle, attendance, average field size, and Oaklawn Anywhere (the tracks advance-deposit wagering site) business.
Keeneland will begin its spring meet with a bump in overnight purses, but track officials hope it's the start of steady growth made possible by revenue from Lexington's historical race wagering facility.
Gulfstream Park reported record total pari-mutuel handle of $807 million for its 85-day Championship meet that concluded April 3. Average daily handle was $9.49 million.
Despite more than 2,300 fewer races compared with 2014, commingled pari-mutuel handle on United States races inched up 1.18% to $10,676,223,640 in 2015. It is the first year-over-year increase since 2012.
The Maryland Jockey Club reported a healthy increase in total live pari-mutuel handle at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course in 2015 despite two fewer racing days compared with 2014.
Total pari-mutuel handle during the 21-day Churchill Downs fall meet was $104,626,990, up 9.9% from $95,225,065 for a 24-day fall meet in 2014. Average daily handle jumped 25.6% to $4,982,238 from $3,967,711 in 2014.
At a time when some Mid-Atlantic region tracks are cutting live racing dates, Maryland is moving in the opposite direction as part of a master plan to make the state a year-round Thoroughbred racing and stabling destination.
The New York Racing Association reported a rebound, at least in terms of total pari-mutuel handle, for the Belmont Park fall meet that ended Nov. 1.
Churchill Downs will begin its fall meet Nov. 1 with higher purses and, if the first two programs are an indication, large fields for the 21-day session.
Average daily all-sources and on-track pari-mutuel handle fell while average daily purses and field size rose during the 11-day September at Churchill Downs that ended Sept. 27.
Monmouth Park officials said given the intense competition for gambling dollars and horses in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, the numbers from its just-completed 2015 race meet held up fairly well versus last year.
Kentucky Downs, which was rebuffed last year in its attempt to add racing days to its 2015 schedule, will try again for 2016, track president Corey Johnsen said Sept. 16.
Canterbury Park reported increases in pari-mutuel handle, purses, and attendance for its 2015 meet that ended Sept. 12.
Saratoga Race Course reported record pari-mutuel handle for its Aug. 29 program that featured the Travers Stakes and five other grade I stakes.
Based on the results of a 23-day summer meet at Laurel Park that generated positive numbers and response from the local community, the Maryland Jockey Club intends to do so again next year -- on some level.
Aided by an almost 9% increase in average field size and eight more turf races, pari-mutuel handle at the midway point of the 40-day Saratoga Race Course meeting is showing strong gains compared with the same period in 2014.
For the first 10 days of Saratoga, on-track handle on NYRA races is up 19% and total handle is up 18.3% over 2014 figures. Field size is also up 9.2% over last year.
Despite rainy weather, Lone Star Park registered increased attendance and total on-track wagering at its spring Thoroughbred meet, although all-sources handle declined 3.1% to $67.6 million.
This year's $500,000 Ohio Derby in retrospect can be considered a success on several levels, and management at ThistleDown Racino expects the marquee race--and the overall racing product--to only get better.
- By Tom LaMarra
Though the numbers certainly can't be considered robust, average field size at racetracks in five states in the Mid-Atlantic region and neighboring New York is up from the comparable period in 2014. read blog
Given record wagering during the opening week of its spring meet, Churchill Downs June 9 announced a 10% hike in overnight purses for the remaining 11 programs of the meeting.
Average fields of just over eight horses per race might be enough for right now, but Gulfstream Park has the potential for fields larger than that during future summer meets, officials said.
Gulfstream Park will offer horsemen a $250 starter bonus tied to field size beginning July 1.
The West Virginia Racing Commission has begun a 10-day comment period on a request by Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort to reduce its 2015 meet to 160 days from 210.
Average field size at Gulfstream Park for its Dec. 6, 2014-April 5 race meet grew 13.1% from 8.4 to 9.5 horses per race, while average daily all-sources pari-mutuel handle slipped 1.7% but was still a solid $8.1 million.
Kentucky Downs, which holds a short all-turf meet in September, has topped the 2015 Horseplayers Association of North America Racetrack Rankings.
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races has been approved to shave 27 racing programs from its 2015 schedule.
Gulfstream Park will open its 2015 spring/summer racing season April 8 with an eight-race card topped by a $46,000 allowance optional claimer that includes the Todd Pletcher-trained stakes runner Vinceremos.
Turfway Park recorded increases in all-sources and average daily pari-mutuel handle during its recently concluded 2015 winter/spring meet. Field size and purses also showed gains during the 2015 meet.
With field size an issue as winter turns to spring, two racetracks located about 45 minutes apart are reinforcing policies designed to keep horses on the grounds.
The people and horses who make Kentucky home for the winter racing season continued to make a good go of it, and this year has been particularly positive from a business standpoint.
The Muckleshoot Tribe March 13 received unanimous approval from the Washington Horse Racing Commission to operate Emerald Downs, the state's premier Thoroughbred racetrack.
All-sources pari-mutuel handle is up 10.3% year-to-date at Tampa Bay Downs, which puts the Florida racetrack on course to average more than $4 million per day and finish with its highest wagering total since the 2010-11 meet.
Aided by cancellations and healthy purse accounts, Oaklawn Park in Arkansas and Turfway Park in Kentucky have increased overnight purses.
Turfway Park will increase purses effective Jan. 30 with a slight across-the-board bump and an extra race per week, officials said.
The Maryland Jockey Club reported a decrease in pari-mutuel handle on live racing at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course in 2014, but total and average purses were up from 2013.
Pari-mutuel handle on U.S. races declined 2.84% in 2014, marking the seventh time in eight years that fewer dollars have been wagered.
Despite racing two fewer programs during its 2014 holiday meet, Turfway Park registered a 21.45% increase in total pari-mutuel handle compared with the comparable meet in 2013.
Gulfstream Park said Jan. 1 its total pari-mutuel handle on live racing in 2014 was a record $1.2 billion for one year.
Hawthorne Race Course reported increases in average daily pari-mutuel handle for its 2014 fall/winter meet, which ended Dec. 31.
Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course ended its inaugural meet Dec. 30 with record total pari-mutuel handle of $1,102,566.
As 2014 came to a close, fewer than 25 racetracks were able to field more than eight horses per races, according to a review of statistics. And the top two tracks on the list each raced only five programs.
As U.S. racing faces the challenge of shaping race days and meets and maintaining field sizes at a time when foal crops are shrinking, experts said tracks and horsemen need to remember to keep the customer in the equation.
Panel discusses field-size challenges and possible solutions on the first morning of the 2014 University of Arizona Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming Dec. 9 in Tucson, Ariz.
Officials at Turfway Park, which begins its four-month run of live racing Dec. 1, are hoping response at the entry box for the first two programs continues through December and into next year.
Delaware Park officials reported a decline in pari-mutuel handle for the 2014 racing season that ended Oct. 22 but said they will continue to explore ways to strengthen the product in a gambling-congested Mid-Atlantic region.
- By Tom LaMarra
A look at Crown Queen, Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, and field size. read blog
The opening weekend at Keeneland, which marked a return to a dirt racing main track for the first time since the spring of 2006, saw steady attendance and on-track wagering but total handle declined 5.7%.
While it already has faced many hurdles, if the declining North American foal crop is not turned around soon, North American racing will require creative solutions from racetracks and horsemen or face further contraction.
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