Total wagering on Standardbred races in the United States was, like betting on Thoroughbred racing, up slightly in 2015 compared with the previous year.
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.
In what it says is a move to increase the profitability of owning young racehorses, NYRA will schedule six $100,000 maiden races for 2-year-olds this spring as lead-ins to its first two juvenile stakes of 2016.
Officials at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races report the track enjoyed record handle per race of $111,664 for its 1,447 races in 2015.
Golden Gate Fields experienced a 3.08% year-over-year increase in total all-sources handle in 2015 despite racing three fewer days.
The West Virginia Racing Commission Dec. 23 approved the $1.25 million purse for the 2016 Charles Town Classic (gr. II), but the vote wasn't unanimous.
Los Alamitos Race Course ended its second winter Thoroughbred meet Dec. 20 with a 2.3% increase in all-sources pari-mutuel handle over the inaugural season in 2014.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission took no action Dec. 17 on a request from the Massachusetts THA to be recognized as the legitimate representative of the region's owners and trainers rather than the New England HBPA.
With one more month remaining in 2015, pari-mutuel wagering on U.S. races is up less than a percentage point compared with the first 11 months of 2014 but purses are down 1.68%.
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.
As Tampa Bay Downs prepared to begin its meet Nov. 28, Peter Berube, general manager at the Florida racetrack, discussed its model for success in the face of competition from tracks with alternative gaming.
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.
More than three years into a lucrative purse agreement between Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the Minnesota Thoroughbred breeding program is reaping the benefits.
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.
The early closure of Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in West Virginia has had a positive impact on Hollywood Casino at Mahoning Valley Race Course, at least for the first six days of its 2015-16 meet.
Turfway Park, which accounts for a third of Kentucky's year-round racing calendar, will begin its season Dec. 3 with lower purses, primarily because of less Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund money.
Aided by more than $150 million in pari-mutuel handle for the two-day Breeders' Cup, commingled wagering on United States races in October was up 17.7% compared with the same month in 2014.
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.
Total and average pari-mutuel handle, as well as purses, were up slightly during the 81-day meet at Delaware Park that ended Oct. 17.
A strong September in terms of handle on U.S. races has helped wagering figures through the first three quarters of 2015 stay in the black.
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.
Mike Maker, who scored in three consecutive races Sept. 19, was named top trainer of the 2015 Kentucky Downs meet while jockey Florent Geroux was the leading rider with 12 victories for the five-day season.
Citing higher than anticipated handle on its Aug. 15 Arlington Million card and following days, Arlington International Racecourse announced it will card additional races daily and increase purses for state-bred races.
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.
Suffolk Downs has created a new stakes race, the $75,000 Suffolk Downs Distaff Turf, for the next festival day Oct. 3.
The New York Racing Association reported record handle of $648,272,805 for its 2015 Saratoga Race Course meet that concluded Sept. 7, reflecting a 13.5% increase in all-source wagering activity compared with 2014.
Del Mar raced to a close of its 76th summer season on Labor Day, completing a 40-day meet that saw total handle figures rise by nearly 10% thanks to four additional race days.
Commingled wagering on Thoroughbred races in the United States was up less than 1% in August versus the same month in 2014, while purses paid dropped almost 3% in conjunction with a reduction of 56 racing days.
Gulfstream Park will present a stakes program worth a record $11.61 million in purses during its 2015-2016 "Championship Meet," highlighted by the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) April 2.
One year after the ownership group of Suffolk Downs announced it would no longer host live racing and subsequently shuttered the barn area, the track will reopen its doors Sept. 5 for the first of three racing programs.
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.
Suffolk Downs, which on Sept. 5 will offer its first live racing program in almost a year, said it will subsidize the shipping of horses from seven tracks in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Oaklawn Park is projecting average daily purse distribution of $475,000, a 9.1% increase over 2015, for the meet that begins Jan. 15, 2016.
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.
Live racing will return to Suffolk Downs this fall now that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has given formal approval to the application by the racetrack for a three-day meet in 2015.
Remington Park announced overnight purses will increase 10% for the 67-day Thoroughbred meet that begins Aug. 14 and runs through Dec. 13.
As advertised, Parx Racing will greatly increase purses across the board when it reopens Aug. 29, after a short break that is part of a reduction in racing dates.
Perhaps helped a bit by added attention for horse racing following American Pharoah's Triple Crown sweep, wagering on U.S. races improved 1.41% in July to $903,673,455 when compared with July 2014.
Track president Bill Fasy said Delaware Park continues to make money, but when it comes to long-term things like capital improvements, the racetrack gaming industry in the state needs some assistance.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board has, at the request of Hazel Park Raceway, ordered an early end to the track's meet, given the track's lack of financial resources.
Gulfstream Park announced July 10 it will raise purses an average of 10 percent, beginning with the next condition book on Thursday, July 23.
United States Thoroughbred racing's economic indicators for June 2015, released July 4 by Equibase Co., showed declines in pari-mutuel handle, purses, race days, races, and starts compared with the same month in 2014.
Arlington International Racecourse has cut overnight purses by 10% and trimmed the purses of most of its few remaining graded stakes.
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.
The West Virginia Racing Commission June 16 signed off on a plan by Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort to shave 50 racing programs from its 2015 schedule.
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.
- By Frank Angst
- Thoroughbred Racing, Handicapping, Triple Crown, Kentucky Oaks, Kentucky, Mid-Atlantic Region
With pari-mutuel wagering up for the Kentucky Oaks day card, the Kentucky Derby day card, and the Preakness day card, racing enjoyed a 4.82% increase in wagering in the all-important month of May.
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