After posting a rare gain in December, wagering on North American racing took a small step backward in January, with total handle from all sources down 1.1% from January 2011.
Fairmount Park and the Illinois Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association have agreed upon an increased purse structure for 2012 thanks to the racetrack's share of casino impact funding it received last year.
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.
Revenue from slot machines and table games at 10 casinos in Pennsylvania in 2011 topped $3 billion for the first time, state officials said Jan. 18.
Laurel Park will soon raise purses roughly 10% across the board to a figure that will top the 2011 daily averages at two nearby racetrack casinos with which it competes for horses.
Hawthorne Race Course will offer bonus money for larger fields during its spring meet, track officials announced Dec. 26.
A New York task force has recommended a percentage of revenue from video lottery terminals and purse accounts go toward retraining and retirement programs for racehorses in the state.
Maryland racing industry officials already have scheduled their first meeting to devise a long-term strategy for live racing in the state beyond 2012.
National handle on Thoroughbred racing continued to decline in November, though the dip is not nearly as pronounced as it was a year ago at this time.
The highly anticipated revised schedule in southeast Florida racing will arrive Dec. 3 when Gulfstream Park begins an 87-day meet that will extend through April 8, 2012.
Despite taking a financial hit because of a state-imposed shutdown during its live race meet this summer, Canterbury Park will stay the course with its regular schedule in 2012.
Kentucky racing shifts to Turfway Park for four months beginning Dec. 1, opening night of the holiday meet. Five stakes are scheduled for the December meet.
Business at Monmouth Park this year expectedly dropped after what appears to be a one-time "Elite Meet" last year, but average daily figures were still much higher than those recorded for the comparable 2009 meet.
- By Tom LaMarra
Purses were up but pari-mutuel handle was down in October, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released Nov. 5 by Equibase.
Suffolk Downs will offer its richest stakes since 2008 on Oct. 22 amid a sense of optimism brought about by passage of legislation that gives it a chance to be awarded a license for a resort casino.
For the month of September, pari-mutuel handle continued to decline, but a considerable increase in purses provided a silver lining, according to the latest Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators.
Pennsylvania's 10 casinos -- racetrack and standalone -- generated $274.9 million for the state's Race Horse Development Fund in fiscal year 2010-11, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board annual report.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, citing an increase in pari-mutuel handle, raised most purses effective Sept. 27.
The Illinois Racing Board Sept. 27 rejected a 2011 racing dates proposal that would have eliminated the spring meet at Hawthorne Race Course, including the grade III Illinois Derby.
Legislation to authorize Internet gambling at Atlantic City casinos-- and produce a dedicated amount for purses at racetracks--has been introduced in the New Jersey Senate.
River Downs, where the start of the 2011 race meet was delayed because of Ohio River flooding, reported gains in live handle and daily average purses.
Canterbury Park officials said overall business numbers for the Minnesota track's 2011 meet were "encouraging" in the face of 20 lost days caused by a state government shutdown.
- By Tom LaMarra
After a solid rebound in July, pari-mutuel handle and purses declined substantially in August, according to the latest Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators.
Kentucky Downs will inaugurate Instant Racing in Kentucky Sept. 1 and believes the form of pari-mutuel wagering can help restore "vibrancy" to the state's horse racing industry.
The Thoroughbred Breeders' Association of New Jersey has filed an appeal in connection with Gov. Chris Christie's veto of a decision by the New Jersey Racing Commission to award $15 million in purse supplements.
With expectations that funding for the New York-bred program will increase about 100% by 2014, officials hope to strike a balance with plans to expand its offerings and rewards for owners and breeders.
Roughly $141 million in an escrow account has been freed up for use by the Illinois horse racing industry, according to published reports.
With little time to spare and graded status for three races on the line, all five Kentucky Cup stakes will return to the calendar at Turfway Park in September. This year's Cup Day will be sponsored by WinStar Farm.
Calder Casino & Race Course has increased some purses 5% beginning with its July 21 program. It is the second purse increase in roughly a month.
It appears Kentucky Downs will be the first racetrack in the state to apply to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for an Instant Racing license.
The New Jersey Racing Commission, in what could end up being nothing more than a symbolic gesture, has divvied up $15 million in casino money that would be used for purses in 2012 should Gov. Chris Christie approve.
An ongoing battle over pari-mutuel takeout rates in California isn't only a major issue in the war over horsemen's representation, but it also has moved horseplayers' involvement in political issues in racing to a new level.
Churchill Downs has raised purses for its spring meet again, this time by 15% effective June 16. A 10% purse hike was announced June 3 at the Kentucky racetrack, whose meet continues through July 4.
Wagering on U.S. races fell 7.8% during the month of May as the declines in Thoroughbred racing continue, according to figures released June 4 by the Equibase Company.
Calder Casino & Race Course and the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association's board of directors June 3 jointly announced a 7.5% purse increase beginning with Calder's June 3 race card.
Negotiations regarding the lease of two New Jersey racetracks by private operators continued June 1, the date state officials had set to wrap up the transfers.
Purse revenue earned from pari-mutuel handle and racetrack slot machines dropped in 2010, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board's "benchmark report" on racetrack casinos in the state.
Oaklawn Park reported increases in attendance, pari-mutuel handle, and purses for its 2011 meet, which was impacted early on by weather-related cancellations.
Whether gross or average figures are used, pari-mutuel handle for the Santa Anita Park winter/spring was down, according to information compiled from various sources.
A racetrack whose obituary was written more than 10 years ago finds itself in the odd situation of being the most stable track in New Jersey -- for now at least -- as it prepares to open its 65th season April 28.
As expected, purses won't be nearly as high as they were last year when Monmouth Park begins its 2011 meet May 14.
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.
Key economic indicators for North American racing in March and the first three months of 2011 reflected a continuation of the trend in which wagering is down but purses are up.
A proposed 2.75% state surcharge on purses on New York races was rejected by lawmakers in a last-minute round of state budget talks at the Capitol in Albany.
Having compromised on the number of racing dates, Pinnacle Entertainment and the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association have agreed on a contract for the 2011 meet at River Downs.
The $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup (gr. IIT) at Colonial Downs June 18 is now open to older turf horses -- one of several changes for the 2011 summer meet at Colonial Downs.
- By Tom LaMarra
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association is compiling the results of a survey that shows its 30 affiliates spent almost $11 million on benevolence programs last year.
Horsemen were told March 18 of the importance of keeping close watch of purse accounts, money from which sometimes ends up commingled with racetrack operating accounts or tangled in bankruptcy cases.
Breeders of registered Maryland-bred horses that win any maiden race at the Pimlico Race Course spring meet will receive a 14.5% "loyalty" bonus, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association announced March 8.
There was good news and bad news March 4 when Equibase released its monthly report on Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators.
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