Keeneland successfully concluded its 2017 spring meet April 28 as exceptional racing, enhanced food and hospitality offerings, one-of-a-kind special events, and warm, sunny weather yielded robust attendance and on-track and all-sources wagering.
Culminating with 62,500 fans turning out to watch champion Classic Empire win the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), the 2017 Oaklawn live racing season concluded with nearly a 5% gain in total handle and another record-setting season for purses.
Keeneland officials reported a spike in attendance for this year's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) card and cited improved on-track handle, although total pari-mutuel handle was slightly down.
In a rousing pari-mutuel wagering success, Gulfstream Park registered all-sources handle of $40.217,924 on its Jan. 28 Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) card, setting a handle record for the track.
While wagering on U.S. races in 2016 was flat--up less than 1% compared with 2015--bettors continue to support a reduced Thoroughbred racing product.
Exacta Systems continued to set new historic horse racing handle records in 2016, achieving record gains in both Kentucky and Wyoming.
Bolstered by a mandatory payout in the Buckeye Pick 6 in which bettors wagered more than $243,000 into the Jackpot carryover, Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course registered an all-time record handle for the second consecutive day.
Remington Park pari-mutuel handle dropped for the first time since 2012.
The multitudes who follow Gulfstream Park's stakes races for newly turned 3-year-olds come January will get some previews Dec. 10, when the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track holds a juvenile showcase with all 11 races for 2-year-olds.
Woodbine Entertainment Group announced wagering on Woodbine's 2016 live Thoroughbred racing season, which concluded Dec. 4, rose sharply over the 2015 meet.
According to numbers released Dec. 4 by Equibase, handle through November is similar to the first 11 months of 2015 and purses are down slightly.
Churchill Downs reports a 1.9% increase in purses paid at the 21-day fall meet that concluded Nov. 27 in Louisville.
The fourth edition of Zia Park’s Land of Enchantment Day produced record setting business numbers as an all-time track record of $2,091,079 was wagered on the 10-race card.
The Nov. 19 "Fall Festival of Racing" card at Laurel Park, saw a 19.6% increase in handle compared with the 2015 edition.
While Breeders' Cup scheduling accounts for most of the wagering declines in October 2016 compared with last year, handle still declined even when last year's Breeders' Cup is not considered.
A crowd of 72,811 at Santa Anita Park Nov. 5 set a record for the highest single-day attendance for a Breeders' Cup since the event switched to a two-day format.
Keeneland closed its 2016 fall meet, which celebrated the 80th anniversary of racing at the world-famous track, on Oct. 29 with record total on-track attendance of 276,543 and substantial gains in on-track and all-sources wagering.
Despite a logistical nightmare in terms of the facility and weather-related disruptions, the Gulfstream Park West meet is slightly ahead of last year's pace in total handle.
For a race day that was delayed by a power outage before the race, things turned around at Keeneland Oct. 8.
Through the first nine months of 2016, pari-mutuel wagering is slightly up and purses are slightly down compared with the same nine months of 2015.
Paco Lopez captured his fifth riding title, Jorge Navarro his fourth trainer's award, and Quiet Winter Farm its first owner's trophy, but the New Jersey track reported significant decreases in key areas.
With record purses attracting full fields and low takeout sparking interest from horseplayers, Kentucky Downs closed its five-date boutique meet Sept. 15 with total wagering up nearly 34 percent.
Ellis Park, which closed its 30-day meet Sept. 5, reported a rise in all-sources handle and a slight drop in on-track wagering. Purses were up 25% due to an influx of funding from Kentucky Downs and historical race wagering.
Highlighted by its most successful single day ever, a sparkling parade of stakes races, and a continuing enhancement of its reputation as a sporting-entertainment venue, Del Mar raced to an uplifting finish to its 77th summer season Sept. 5.
Through the first two-thirds of 2016, total handle is up slightly and total purses are down slightly according to Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released Sept. 5 by Equibase.
Racing took full advantage of a five-weekend month of July but the gains in pari-mutuel handle and purses appear to go beyond kindness of the calendar.
Indiana Grand Racing & Casino established pari-mutuel handle and attendance records July 16, when it offered a 10-race program featuring the $500,000 Indiana Derby (gr. II).
Del Mar's opening day July 15, on a Friday for the first time since the 1970s, saw an increase in attendance and all-sources handle, but a decrease in on-track handle.
For a second straight year Churchill Downs registered an increase in total pari-mutuel handle for its 38-day spring meet.
With June's biggest race day seeing a significant decline in pari-mutuel handle, wagering on United States races for the month also declined compared with the same month in 2015.
Total handle July 2 on Gulfstream Park's Summit of Speed program was $9.702 million, an increase of 18% from 2015 when Gulfstream first played host to the event.
Total and average handle on Gulfstream Park's live races was up during the 59-day spring meet, which concluded June 30.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced June 29 that daily handle was up nearly 22% from the previous year during the recently concluded Preakness Meet at Pimlico Race Course.
Preakness day registered record handle but with the Kentucky Derby day handle down slightly from last year's record mark, wagering on U.S. races in the month of May fell 3.95% when compared with the same month last year.
The Maryland Jockey Club reported record attendance and an increase in handle for the May 20 card at Pimlico Race Course, highlighted by Go Maggie Go’s impressive Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) score.
A crowd of 167,227 attended the Kentucky Derby May 7. The all-sources handle for the day was $192.6 million.
All-sources handle for Kentucky Oaks day rose 6% to $49 million.
Total number of races and starts also increase.
Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course recently concluded its winter-spring meet and showed a 31% rise in daily average handle for the 65-day stand.
Oaklawn Park concluded the 2016 live racing season April 16 with across-the-board increases in handle, attendance, average field size, and Oaklawn Anywhere (the tracks advance-deposit wagering site) business.
Santa Anita Park saw a significant increase in on-track attendance and a slight decrease in all-sources handle when its 2015-2016 winter meet came to a close April 10.
Despite fewer races and race days, commingled wagering on U.S. racing rose nominally during the month of March, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase April 5.
According to a wagering expert, the industry's embrace of computer-robotic wagering through the high rebates required to sustain these players has resulted in a less attractive game for all other horseplayers.
Despite declines in race days and number of races during January, wagering on U.S. racing rose 2.2% to $830,526,891 when compared with the $812,581,024 total handle during January 2015.
Gulfstream Park announced Jan. 1 that its live races in 2015 produced a record $1.338 billion in handle. Gulfstream's record handle represented a 14% increase from its previous record handle of $1.174 billion in 2014.
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.
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%.
The Toronto racetrack reported an 11.3% rise in total handle; set records on its three biggest days.
At the conclusion of its second fall season since the closure of Hollywood Park, Del Mar saw a decrease in daily average handle for the five-week stand when compared with last fall's four-week slate.
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