Emerald Downs closed its 2005 race meet Oct. 16 with record increases in both handle and purses, making it the most successful year in the track's 10-year history.
Ellis Park is seeking to reduce its number of race days per week in 2006 from five to four, but approval of the change has been stalled by opposition from the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protection Agency.
Prairie Meadows plans to run 90 days of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing in 2006 under a plan unanimously approved Aug. 29 by the track's board of directors.
Hawthorne Race Course in Chicago announced an across-the-board purse increase for its meeting that will run Sept. 23 through Dec. 31.
The Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has taken issue with an Ellis Park purse reduction that has put the minimum purse to near $5,000 for the first time in recent memory at any Thoroughbred racetrack in Kentucky.
If horsemen believe they aren't receiving adequate compensation for their product, it's within their rights to be directly involved in the setting of host fees, a consultant said July 22 during the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association summer convention in Toronto, Ontario.
The latest condition book at Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort reflects a 20% reduction in purses primarily brought about by the shift of some video lottery terminal revenue to the state to fix its workers' compensation system.
Pari-mutuel handle on Thoroughbred racing in the United States and Canada was down 3.8% in the second quarter of 2005, though purses dipped less than 1% for the quarter, according to the latest "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators."
Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino, which just opened April 7 for the first Thoroughbred meet at its new location in Opelousas, La., has raised purses 10% across the board effective April 29.
Total handle on United States Thoroughbred racing in North America, as well as U.S. Thoroughbred purses, were down in the first quarter of 2005 compared with the first quarter in 2004, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Equibase said.
Oaklawn Park has raised all overnight purses by $1,000 effective April 9, when the Racing Festival of the South begins.
Fair Grounds Race Course announced Tuesday that overnight purses have been increased by 12%, effective with the race card of Friday, March 11.
The beneficial effect that alternative gaming at racetracks has on state Thoroughbred industries was affirmed again in 2004, according to statistics contained in The Jockey Club's 2005 Online Fact Book.
An increase in handle on its live product had led Tampa Bay Downs to raise purses 7% effective Feb. 15. The daily average--overnight races and stakes--will be $140,000, a record for the track located in Oldsmar, Fla.
Total Thoroughbred purses increased 3.42%--mostly from a limited number of sources--in 2004, while total handle on Thoroughbred races run in the United States declined less than 1%, according to a year-end "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators" report released Jan. 12.
The Derby is the Derby. But Churchill Downs doesn't want to take any chances with what it considers the signature event in Thoroughbred racing.
Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse interests in Iowa oppose a plan by the Standardbred industry to shift a larger percentage of purse money at Prairie Meadows to harness racing.
Horsemen at Calder will find a little something extra on their plates Thanksgiving Day. The track announced a purse increase of $1,000 per overnight race, which will take effect with the Nov. 25 race card.
Churchill Downs Inc. has revised its financial statements to reflect reductions in pre-tax earnings for 2002 and 2003 of $2.2 million and $1 million, respectively, because of purse overpayments. The company also noted impairment charges of $6.2 million at Ellis Park because of "poor" live meet results this summer.
By Gary West -- The message echoed through the grandstand and spread through the crowd. In the stable area, people from Europe, California, Kentucky, and New York gladly picked up the message and passed it along. Now, if only the so-called leaders in Texas aren't deaf.
A third-quarter increase in purses despite a decrease in pari-mutuel handle is attributed to growth in alternative gaming, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association said.
Though pari-mutuel handle on Thoroughbred racing in the United States and Canada dropped slightly in the second quarter of 2004, purses increased 2.86%, according to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Equibase.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Wagering Systems Task Force, formed to study why handle is up but purses are down, plans to release its report in August, officials said.
Churchill Downs Inc. president Tom Meeker said June 17 the company is in an excellent position for future growth and, though CDI intends to do its part, industry factions must work together to support and build the necessary infrastructure.
- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman -- If Smarty Jones wins the Kentucky Derby it will be a great story...but it should not be allowed to distort Smarty Jones' earnings as a racehorse or his sire's place on the list of 2004 leading sires.
David Willmot shared his opinions on everything from slot machines to the relationship between purses and handle at Wednesday night's Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club meeting.
Total North American handle during the first quarter of the year was up slightly from 2003 despite 45 fewer racing days, but once again purses did not keep pace, according to statistics released Friday by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Equibase.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Wagering Systems Task Force, which was created to find out why total purses dropped in 2003 even though national handle increased, held its first meetings Thursday and Friday in New York City at the offices of Giuliani Partners.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Wagering Systems Task Force has enlisted a panel of business experts, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to find out what caused purses to drop in 2003 even though national handle increased.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- It's only mid-February, but it's never too early to start talking about the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and the Visa Triple Crown Challenge.
With major contracts for television, sponsorship, and membership up for renewal this year, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association believes 2004 is the year that could spark major growth in horse racing for the long term, commissioner Tim Smith said.
Turfway Park has hiked purses for Kentucky-breds in some high-level races, and also reported that numbers for the first nine live racing days of 2004 show business is on the rebound.
The 130th Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) highlight a 2004 stakes schedule at Churchill Downs that includes five new races and record total stakes purses that will soar beyond the $9 million mark for the first time.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- This year-end headline could not have gone unnoticed by anyone operating a racing stable--large or small--or by the leaders of organizations whose mission is to improve the economics of the Thoroughbred industry: 2003 Handle Up Slightly, But Purses Decrease.
Total handle on Thoroughbred racing in the United States and Canada increased by only 0.9% in 2003, according to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Equibase.
The Thoroughbred industry will have to face the music and change its tune in the next few years if it is to flourish, trainer John Ward suggested during a lively discussion the evening of Nov. 4 at the monthly Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club meeting.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- In an age of telephone and Internet betting and rebates the price of the signal must be re-examined.
Santa Anita Park's Oak Tree meet, which began with high expectations as the host site for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, will end with a 10% reduction in purses for the remainder of the season.
Total wagering during the third quarter of the year increased to $4,007,591,917, a growth of 3.38% over the same quarter last year. Third-quarter purses dipped 4.15%, to $306,800,417. Compared with third-quarter 2002, racing days declined slightly, with a total of 16 fewer days.
Cheltenham Racecourse announced Wednesday that prize money for the 2003/2004 season, starting at the end of October, will rise by 5% compared to last season.
Talk of strikes and boycotts by owners and jockeys in Great Britain over separate issues actually materialized the week of Sept. 1.
Woodbine officials said a "softening" in wagering has led them to cut purses by 3% effective Sept. 10.
Hoosier Park will kick off its ninth season of Thoroughbred racing Aug. 29 with a streamlined program: Because of the presence of second racetrack in Indiana, purses are down a substantial $80,000 to $90,000 a day from 2002.
The 129th running of Churchill Downs' historic Clark Handicap (gr. II) will also be its richest as the track has raised the purse for this year's renewal by $100,000 to $500,000-added.
In an effort to maintain overnight purses for the Sept. 13-23 live racing season at Kentucky Downs, track officials have reduced the purse of the grade III Kentucky Cup Turf from $300,000 to $200,000.
Wagering in North America during the second quarter of the year increased 2.52% over the corresponding period in 2002. But, while there were 32 more racing days, purses dropped 1%.
Purses for Saturday's four stakes races that make up Churchill Downs' "Stephen Foster Super Saturday" card started out at $1.35 million, but they will soar considerably higher when the "added money" portion of the purses enter the mix.
Record wagering on the Kentucky Derby, steady on-track business and a significant increase in simulcast wagering on its races have combined to enable Churchill Downs to announce a 10% increase in its overnight race purses for its 2003 spring meet.
Effective Thursday, June 5, Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, Texas will reduce its purse structure approximately 9 percent due to slower than usual business levels since the start of the year.
Purses at Thoroughbred tracks in the U.S. increased by 4.3% in the first quarter of 2003, despite a 1.2% drop in pari-mutuel handle, according to statistics released April 4 by Equibase and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
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