Eric Mitchell

Youbet.com Predicts Profitability by 2002

Youbet.com, an online horse racing and wagering site that has burned through more than $64 million since 1998, expects to begin turning a profit in 2002. The company also expects to have more than 20,000 subscribers by the end of the year.

NTRA Champions Ratings Improve

The revamped NTRA Champions Series got off to a good start June 10 with an overnight rating of 1.7 and attracted 4% of the viewing market. Last year's version of the series on Fox collectively earned earned a 1.1 rating and a 3% market share.

Jockey Club Launches AI Inquiry, Sets Separate Hearing

The Jockey Club has launched an inquiry into whether artificial insemination was used at Valley Creek Farm in California, which is co-owned by Jack Liebau, one of its members. Additionally, the Jockey Club has agreed to conduct a hearing into the fraudulent registration of four Palomino Thoroughbreds.

Nasdaq May Still Pull Youbet Listing

The Nasdaq stock exchange notified Youbet.com officials Tuesday that the company still fails to meet its minimum price requirement and is subject to being delisted. To remain on the exchange, Youbet.com stock needed to trade about $1 per share for 10 consecutive days before Monday.

Youbet Notches Record Week

Youbet.com just completed its busiest week ever. The Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and a handicapping contest held in conjunction with the Daily Racing Form attracted $2.6 million in online wagers for the week ending May 19.

Youbet.com Strikes Deal With TVG; Stock Soars

Youbet.com has signed a deal that could give the Television Games Network a majority interest in the online horse racing and wagering service. Under the terms of the agreement, Youbet.com will pay TVG fees based on the handle. Youbet.com also has issued warrants allowing TVG to buy 19.9% of the online service's 19.4 million shares of common stock for 1 cent per share. Youbet.com's stock reacted strongly to the news. The stock, which closed at 75 cents per share Friday, jumped 101% to peak at $1.51 within the first hour of trading Monday.

Grady Stepping Down as Tampa Bay Downs GM

John Grady Jr. is stepping down as vice president and general manager of Tampa Bay Downs, but will remain associated with the track as a consultant. Grady was the overseer of significant improvements at the Florida racetrack, and a controversial figure during contract negotiations with horsemen.

Where to Find the Mycotoxin Binder

Lexington, Ky., feed companies are busy filling orders for bags and buckets of mycotoxin binder from horse owners in 15 states throughout the East Coast and Canada. Here is a list of companies selling the binder and associated products.

Magna Eyeing Four U.S. Tracks, Another in Ontario

Magna Entertainment chairman Frank Stronach told shareholders May 11 that he plans to buy four more racetracks in the United States. He said he hopes the racing conglomerate will control 35% of the U.S. handle on Thoroughbred races within two years. Stronach is also considering breaking into the Ontario racing market.

Youbet.com Reduces Loss, Gains Subscribers

Youbet.com reduced its net loss for the first quarter of the year by 31% to $2.4 million, or 12 cents per share. During the same period a year ago, the company reported a net loss of $3.4 million, or 17 cents per share. The online horse racing and wagering service also gained 1,400 new subscribers between Jan. 1 and March 31.

National Rating For NBC's Derby Debut Was Up 40 Percent

NBC Sports' debut broadcast of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) attracted 40 percent more viewers than a year ago. The national rating for the 5 p.m. to 6:42 p.m. program earned an 8.1 rating and captured 21 percent of viewers compared with last year when the Derby earned a 5.8 rating and a 17 percent market share. The rating is the highest since 1992 when the Derby earned a national rating of 8.9 and a 26 percent market share. Each rating point currently represents slightly more than one million households.

ESPN Sports Poll

A large majority of casual Thoroughbred racing fans said they had heard of the Breeders' Cup, but more than half did not know it was racing's championship event, according to an ESPN Sports Poll conducted last year.

Jim Host Q & A: ESPN Sports Poll Results

Jim Host discusses his new contract with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association to secure corporate sponsors for horse racing and the Breeders' Cup. The Lexington sports marketing pioneer also discusses why an ESPN Sports Poll shows most casual racing fans don't realize the Breeders' Cup is Thoroughbred racing's championship day.

Brown-Forman Expands Race Sponsorship

Louisville distillery and consumer products company Brown-Forman is expanding its race sponsorships. The company will sponsor six new races later this year at three tracks owned by Churchill Downs.

No Breeders' Cup for Santa Anita? Magna Says Not Surprising

Santa Anita may withdraw as the host for the 2002 Breeders' Cup because of construction plans. The news has frustrated Oak Tree Racing Association officials, who conduct racing at the Arcadia, Calif., track in the fall. An executive with racetrack owner Magna Entertainment said the news should not surprise anyone since construction plans have been discussed for months.

Harsh Winter Hurts Turfway Park Meet

Turfway Park lost six racing days during its winter/spring meet because of bad weather. The lost days caused the total on-track handle to fall 14.4% and the total all-sources handle to drop 6.4%.

Harsh Winter Hurts Turfway Park Meet

Turfway Park lost six racing days during its winter/spring meet because of bad weather. The lost days caused the total on-track handle to fall 14.4% and the total all-sources handle to drop 6.4%.

Magna Finishes $53 million Ladbroke Deal

Magna Entertainment has completed a deal to acquire an account wagering system, The Meadows harness track, four off-track betting parlors, and an 18% interest in The Racing Network for $53 million in cash, stock, and a promissory note.

The Bottom Line: Slot Machine Gaming Boosts Purses

Slot machines and card tables had an undeniable influence on the 8% growth seen in North American purses in 2000. Out of the top 10 racetracks in the United States and Canada, ranked by growth in total purses, seven offer slot and/or video poker machines and one offers card games. Leading the list is Sunland Park, the New Mexico racetrack nestled against the Texas border town of El Paso. Gross purses at Sunland Park grew 160%, from $1.69 million in 1999 to $4.4 million last year.

Fair Grounds and Harrah's Reach Slots Agreement

Fair Grounds racetrack has reached an understanding with Harrah's New Orleans casino that could put 300 slot machines at the track by 2003 and up to 700 machines by 2005. "It is not as many machines as at other jurisdictions, but it will allow us to continue to grow the business," said Bryan Krantz, president and general manager of Fair Grounds.

Youbet.com Cuts Losses

Youbet.com, the online pari-mutuel wagering service, reported a 52% reduction in losses for its fourth quarter and a 41% reduction in losses for 2000. For the year ended December 31, 2000, the company's loss before an extraordinary net gain was $16.7 million or $0.86 per common share, a reduction of 32% from the loss of $24.5 million, or $1.45 per common share recorded for the full year 1999. Including the extraordinary item, Youbet.com's net loss for 2000 was $1.7 million, or $0.09 per common share.

TVG Targeted for Two More States

A deal between TV Games Network's parent company and Comcast, the nation's third leading cable operator, will put the horse racing network in two more states before September.

Portland Meadows Changes Operators

Real estate developer Tom Moyer bought the operating rights for Portland Meadows, Oregon's largest racetrack. The change, however, does not bring much stability to the state's Thoroughbred racing industry.

Gtech to cut 80 jobs

Gtech, a lottery company and co-owner of Turfway Park, announced today it was eliminating jobs as part of a large cut in operating expenses.

Eclipse Awards: Trainer: Bobby Frankel

Bobby Frankel is one of only three trainers who cracked the $10-million mark in earnings last year, but look closely at his statistics. He stands apart from fellow earnings leaders Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas because he started about 50% fewer horses than they did and still won 3% more than Lukas and 9% less than Baffert.

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