A request by management and horsemen at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races to reduce the number of live racing days for 2015 has renewed a discussion about the future of West Virginia Thoroughbred racing.
The Ohio Thoroughbred Racing Fund, now fully supported by revenue from racetrack video lottery terminals, will almost double to more than $5 million in 2015.
The $1.5 million Charles Town Classic (gr. II), which has a new purse payout structure, again highlights the stakes schedule at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races for 2015.
Harness trainer Ron Burke's record-setting year continued the evening of Dec. 12 when he broke Todd Pletcher's North American record for purses won by a trainer. Pletcher held the mark of $28,116,097 set in 2007.
Keeneland will run the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes a week earlier on the schedule beginning next season and increase the purse to $1 million for its major Triple Crown prep race.
Churchill Downs wrapped up 2014 with a double-digit decline in all-sources wagering during the 24-day fall meet that concluded Nov. 30.
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.
The Louisiana Racing Commission Oct. 21 ordered Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots to restore $2.7 million in purse supplements from video poker revenue for the upcoming Thoroughbred meet.
Horsemen owed $2.2 million in purses and owner rewards and an unknown amount from claiming transactions from the Presque Isle Downs meeting completed Sept. 25 are awaiting checks and looking for answers.
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.
Canterbury Park Oct. submitted a request to the Minnesota Racing Commission for a 70-day live racing season in 2015 Oct. 23, up two days from this year. If approved, the meet would be the longest since 1992.
Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort and Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races were granted permission Oct. 15 to reduce live racing dates for the final months of 2014.
According to a Thoroughbred Racing Associations study, money from added-gaming sources now accounts for more than one-third of the purse money awarded in U.S. Thoroughbred racing.
Monmouth Park reported increases in on-track and export pari-mutuel handle, as well as attendance, for its 57-day meet that ended Sept. 28.
Citing pending litigation from Louisiana Quarter Horse owners, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots announced Sept. 17 that it will withhold $2.7 million in purse supplements at the upcoming meet.
While the amount of money wagered on each U.S. race increased in August, a decline in the number of races offered proved too steep a hurdle as total wagering declined 0.37% compared with August 2013.
Laurel Park opens its customary end-of-season meet Sept. 5 with an emphasis on turf racing and stakes clustered on multiple big-event days.
Ohio's three Thoroughbred racetracks have applied for a combined 293 racing days for 2015. There would be no overlap between ThistleDown Racino and Mahoning Valley Race Course, which are located not that far apart.
Eligible Oklahoma-bred horses competing at Remington Park are eligible for higher purse supplements.
Belterra Park, which opened for gaming and Thoroughbred racing in May, plans to reduce overnight purses by about 20% according to its next condition book effective Aug. 30.
- By Tom LaMarra
Equibase reports pari-mutuel wagering on United States Thoroughbred races in July was down 3.47% and purses fell 5.67% from the same month a year ago with 13 fewer race days.
The Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and Delaware Park are working to ensure horsemen are promptly paid purse money in light of delays in the receipt of results of equine drug tests.
First passed as a temporary surcharge in 2007, legislation has been signed into law again authorizing the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association to receive 2% of purse proceeds at New York Racing Association tracks.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has approved a plan to distribute an additional $1 million in purse money from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund in 2014 and 2015.
Los Alamitos Race Course officials July 13 said the eight-day summer Thoroughbred meet generated average daily total pari-mutuel handle of $5,070,966.
Delaware Park and the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association signed a one-year extension to their current agreement, which was scheduled to run through 2015.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club will offer 10 international group I races during its 2014-15 racing season and has increased total purses 10%.
Hong Kong racing will get a 7% prize money increase next season, according to William Nader, executive director of racing at the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Growth in out-of-state wagering on its product helped Pimlico Race Course record an increase in average daily pari-mutuel handle for the 2014 spring meet.
Though boosted by major racing days May 2-3 and a fifth Saturday in the month, worldwide commingled wagering on United States Thoroughbred races increased only 0.92% for May versus the same month in 2013.
Pennsylvania Thoroughbred breeding program continues to improve and offer healthy benefits, but breeders are keeping a watchful eye, again, on activities in the state Legislature.
The horsemen's group at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort has signed off on a plan to reduce racing days and the number of races at the West Virginia track later this year.
The West Virginia legislature ended a short special session May 21 and apparently left more than $14 million in gaming revenue to purses and breed development programs for horse and dog racing intact for fiscal year 2015.
Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort has asked the West Virginia Racing Commission for permission to drop 11 live racing programs in December and reduce the number of races it is scheduled to run in October and November.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association said May 9 it has given Gulfstream Park recommendations regarding a Gulfstream plan for ending head-to-head weekend racing with neighboring Calder.
- By Tom LaMarra
A decline in commingled pari-mutuel handle on United States racing in April versus the same month last year left total wagering down 3.08% for the first four months of 2014, according to Equibase statistics.
Total purses generated by slot machines in Pennsylvania in 2013 dropped 6.57% from the previous year according to a benchmark report released April 9 by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
Two Ohio racetracks will pay 10.5% of video lottery terminal revenue to purses, an official with the state's racing and breeding programs said April 5.
With the harsh winter of 2014 finally abating, Thoroughbred racing's key economic indicators of wagering and purses declined only slightly in March, according to figures released by Equibase Co.
The Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association said it expects purse money for Pennsylvania-bred racehorses to increase this year.
The West Virginia Legislature March 14 passed a fiscal year 2014-15 budget that will redirect 10% of racing's share of gaming revenue to other programs.
A surplus in the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund will allow Turfway Park to increase purses for allowance and maiden special weight races through the end of its winter/spring meet.
Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort will kick off its 210-day season March 1 with average daily overnight purses of about $115,000, a figure on par with 2013.
Overnight purses at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots have been reduced 10% for the rest of the current race meet, track officials said Feb. 20.
Turfway Park expects much warmer temperatures the week of Feb. 16 that will allow proper maintenance of its Polytrack surface and a return to live racing Feb. 21.
Citing robust January business, Oaklawn Racing and Gaming announced it will increase all overnight purses by as much as $2,000 per race starting with the Saturday, Feb. 8 card.
Total on-site pari-mutuel wagering at Delaware Park in 2013 totaled $149.2 million, down 4.1% from $155.5 million in 2012, according to the annual report released Feb. 6 by the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission.
Despite an increase in race days, wagering on U.S. races in January of 2014 was similar to the amount of handle on U.S. races in January 2013.
It appears rather than having one percentage for the amount of revenue that goes to purses from video lottery terminals, Ohio could have a different number for each of its seven racetracks.
An economic impact study shows the Thoroughbred and Greyhound racing and breeding industries account for at least $321 million a year in total business volume in West Virginia.
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