Average daily purse distribution at Zia Park Racetrack will increase to more than $300,000, which should attract top racehorses from throughout the Midwest and western United States.
A Churchill Downs Inc. official said May 7 purses at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., could be cut the week of May 11, while Calder Race Course in South Florida could face another reduction in purses.
The head of a Kentucky horsemen's association said his group withheld approval for the Churchill Downs signal to go out to a pair of offshore rebate shops for the undercards of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), and is aggravated that the track is blaming horsemen for a decline in handle on the two programs.
Declines in on-track wagering, a dispute with the New York Racing Association over signal fees, and horsemen's refusal to allow six major advance deposit wagering outlets to take its signal has led River Downs to cut purses 15%-18% effective May 8.
Churchill Downs Inc. has invested $100 million in advance deposit wagering for a reason: The company believes it's the major growth channel for pari-mutuel wagering, as well as a means to drive traffic to the racetrack, CDI president and chief executive officer Bob Evans said.
Calder Race Course announced April 21 due to the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association's refusal to approve the distribution of Calder races to out-of-state wagering outlets, including advance deposit wagering companies, the racetrack has been forced to cut purses by 30%, effective April 27. The purse reductions will affect a variety of race conditions, including stakes races.
The Delaware Certified Thoroughbred Program, formed earlier in the decade to preserve farmland and offer incentives for horses domiciled in the state, now has almost 1,300 registered Thoroughbreds, according to the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.
Florida horsemen and officials at Calder Race Course and parent company Churchill Downs Inc. met April 14 but did not agree on contracts for the Calder meet that begins April 21.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has given the new national Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group authority to negotiate terms with advance deposit wagering companies for betting on races at South Florida Thoroughbred racetracks. Also, Florida horsemen want an agreement on slots revenue with Calder before any contracts are signed.
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed legislation April 11 that allows a $90-million purse supplement for New Jersey racetracks to move forward. Now, the racing industry must decide how the money will be divvied up for purses at perhaps four racetracks.
As Calder Race Course prepares to open its 2008 meet April 21, the question of how to divide any future slot-machine revenue is holding up contract talks between the Miami Gardens, Fla., track and the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protection Association.
Turfway Park ended its 2008 winter/spring meet with declines in wagering on its races both on track and from all sources.
As Atlantic City Race Course prepares for a six-day all-turf meet, from April 23-25 and April 30-May 2, many observers believe it will be the last hurrah for the New Jersey track that opened in 1946.
The New Jersey legislature has approved a deal whereby Atlantic City casinos will pay the horseracing and breeding industry $90 million over three years in return for a guarantee the tracks won't pursue video lottery terminals during the period.
A plan to help New Jersey's struggling horse racing industry while protecting casinos from video gambling machines at racetracks has cleared a hurdle in the state legislature.
Rollercoaster weather conditions continue to plague Beulah Park, which canceled live racing March 5. It was the fourth consecutive full or partial card that was canceled, and dates lost during the meet are in the double digits.
Atlantic City casinos have agreed to boost financial help for New Jersey's racetracks, but officials said long-term funding issues remain.
Pennsylvania probably won't become a leader in terms of number of Thoroughbred foals bred each year, but its breeding program figures to give programs in the rest of the United States a serious run for their money.
The "Smarty slots" in Pennsylvania have been jingling for more than a year. In Kentucky, where the racing industry views Pennsylvania as a major threat, casino legislation broke from the gate in a tangle yet again this year.
Gulfstream Park's $75,000 Shotintheheart Handicap Feb. 14 will be the first of as many as four Florida-bred stakes it will add this season.
The integrated gaming and racing facility has scheduled "test nights" for Feb. 8 and Feb. 10. Test nights are regularly held at casinos to ensure that all equipment is operating properly.
Delays in a purse supplement or other forms of financial relief from the state have led New Jersey's harness racing industry to brace for serious purse reductions.
The board of directors of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association of Ontario has unanimously approved the extension of its current contract with Woodbine Entertainment Group for an additional three years, the organization announced Jan. 18.
It will be a new day for Thoroughbred racing in central Pennsylvania Feb. 12 when Penn National Race Course, rebuilt as a racing and gaming complex, reopens for live racing as the Hollywood Casino at Penn National.
The year 2008 has brought another purse increase to Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack, but the Pennsylvania track and other tracks in the Mid-Atlantic region are expected to continue competing for horses as the year progresses.
After cutting its daily purses about 7% in early November, Calder Race Course quietly restored the money during the final weeks of its meet that ends Jan. 2. But questions concerning Calder and other South Florida tracks linger into the new year.
Canterbury Park received approval from the Minnesota Racing Commission Dec. 20 to conduct a 67-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet May 3-Sept. 1 next year.
The head of the National Horsemen?s Benevolent and Protective Association has suggested the horseracing industry create an entity to assist in the marketing and distribution of its product, in this case racing signals.
National Steeplechase Association purses were a record $5,357,645 in 2007, up 10.5% from last year, according to the organization's year-end statistics released Nov. 30.
The Texas Racing Commission approved 2008 breed splits for horses and discussed the closure of one of the state's three Greyhound tracks during its Nov. 27 meeting.
Maryland racing interests are optimistic over passage of legislation to authorize a statewide referendum on slot machines in November 2008, but they indicated there remains a need for financial relief before the slots measure even comes up for a vote.
Florida-based trainer David Fawkes had good luck shipping Take d'Tour to New York to win grade I races in 2006 and 2007, and now he looks forward to doing well with his first New York-based stable at Aqueduct's fall and winter meets.
A controversial plan to shave live racing dates at Thistledown in 2008 could result in the halt of full-card simulcasts at the Cleveland-area racetrack in 2009.
In response to statements made by the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association in regard to purse cuts, Calder Race Course president Ken Dunn responded Nov. 11 by saying the decision was based on simple economics and was absolutely necessary based on decreased business during the month of October.
Delaware Park, one of Thoroughbred racing's pioneers in terms of combining racing and video gaming, ended its 2007 meet Nov. 4 with declines in total handle and field size, though purses paid increased about $1 million.
Turf Paradise hopes to improve upon the previous season's record daily purse distribution at its 2007-08 race meet, which commenced Oct. 5. So far, things seems headed in the right direction.
The New York Racing Association will again raises purses, this time for the 45-day Aqueduct fall meet that begins Oct. 24 and runs through Dec. 30. Projected purses will be the highest in recent memory for the fall meet.
Turfway Park ended its 2007 fall meet Oct. 4 with increases in on-track wagering and declines in all-sources wagering on its races compared with the same period in 2006.
The inaugural meet at Presque Isle Downs concluded Sept. 29, with the track located at the casino of the same name near Erie, Pennsylvania reporting average daily purse distribution of $432,074 for the 29-day stand. Overnight purses averaged $368,074.
The first race of the inaugural meet at Presque Isle Downs may very well tell the tale: There is lots of money up for grabs, and horses are coming from all over the place.
The advent of a potentially strong competitor in western Pennsylvania might have minimal impact on the upcoming meet at Turfway Park, but track president Bob Elliston said it won't go unnoticed as far as Kentucky Thoroughbred racing is concerned.
Attendance, on-track handle, and total handle remained up through the first 11 days of racing at Saratoga Race Course.
Belmont Park's on-track handle, including simulcasts, increased 4.3% at the recently-concluded 59-day spring/summer Meet, the racetrack announced July 27.
Purses and pari-mutuel handle were up slightly in the second quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2006.
In terms of money, it will be Del Mar, Keeneland, and Saratoga in northwestern Pennsylvania when Presque Isle Downs offers an inaugural 25-night meet with an average of $500,000 per program in purses.
Deductions for a new breed development program and statewide workers' compensation have led Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort to cut purses 20% across the board beginning July 10. The West Virginia track has thousands of video lottery terminals that produce purse revenue and this fall will begin operating table games.
Revenue from slot machines will allow Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack to raise purses 20% beginning with the July 14 program at the Pennsylvania track.
Maryland Jockey Club and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association have agreed to reduce purses and slash the stakes schedule for the balance of the 2007 racing campaign as the industry faces a $3 million shortfall in the purse account by the end of the calendar year.
A lucrative meet at Fair Grounds and the advent of slot machines at race meets in Florida and Pennsylvania fueled a 13% hike in purses for the first quarter of 2007, but handle was down.
Steady growth in interstate wagering, total handle and purse payouts highlighted the 81st season of live thoroughbred racing at Tampa Bay Downs, which ended May 6. The Oldsmar, Fla., track also celebrated a record single-day attendance May 5 when a crowd of 11,014 witnessed Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) winner Street Sense capture the 133rd Kentucky Derby.
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