As the Breeders' Cup World Championships approaches its 30th edition, some things have become standard from an operations perspective, while others continue to change. As questions are answered, new ones are asked.
Pari-mutuel takeout rates and other issues were discussed during a lightly attended meeting of the New York State Racing Fan Advisory Council Oct. 19 at Belmont Park.
Racing executives indicated Oct. 9 there is little chance of the Thoroughbred racing industry developing a comprehensive analysis of lower pari-mutuel takeout rates.
- By Tom LaMarra
By 2016 the number of starters in Thoroughbred races is projected to be about 39% less than it was in 2003 based on Equibase statistics discussed Oct. 8 during the International Simulcast Conference in Lexington.
Upgrading the on-site customer experience, be it for live horse racing or full-card simulcasts, is critical to the growth of the business, panelists said Oct. 7 on the first day of the International Simulcast Conference.
Portland Meadows in Oregon concluded its short summer meet Sept. 29 with substantial increases in pari-mutuel handle.
Tampa Bay Downs finished first again in August in Florida for host-track revenue on import simulcasts, and it appears that questions about the track's year-round eligibility for host status will remain unresolved for now.
Assiniboia Downs ended its 60-day season of live racing Sunday, Sept. 22 with a 6.74% increase in wagering by bettors outside of the province.
- By Tom LaMarra
Wagering on United States races was strong in August, with a 4.69% increase from the same month in 2012, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase Sept. 4.
Compared with 2012, average all-sources handle declined 17% at the recently completed Ellis Park summer meet, a decrease the track attributes to new competition and fewer off-track outlets in the state.
The New York Racing Association reported net income of $8.2 million for the first six months of 2013, up 2% from the same period in 2012 because of an increase in video lottery terminal revenue and a decrease in expenses.
Saratoga Race Course reported gains in pari-mutuel handle and attendance for its Aug. 24 Travers Stakes (gr. I) program.
Southeast Florida began its fourth head-to-head racing weekend July 27 with Gulfstream holding an almost 2-1 edge in pari-mutuel handle and Calder rejecting speculation it might soon cancel racing dates.
The first weekend showdown between Calder Casino & Race Course and Gulfstream Park had both tracks claiming some wagering success.
Seven more live racing dates during the spring meet at Pimlico Race Course led to an increase in total pari-mutuel handle, but the daily average declined, the Maryland Jockey Club reported June 11.
The inaugural $500,000 Penn Mile June 1 helped Penn National Gaming Inc. continue a trend of sharp gains in pari-mutuel handle on "big event" programs at the company's racetracks.
The Oregon Senate May 23 passed legislation authorizing Portland Meadows to install historical racing machines. The measure now goes to the governor for his consideration.
Wagering on United States racing in April registered a small year-over-year gain, but purses were down from April in 2012, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase May 5.
A New York lawmaker May 4 said he will introduce legislation authorizing off-track betting at New York City bars that offered it before New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. went bust and closed in 2010.
Churchill Downs set a record for its May 3 Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) program when more than $45.8 million was wagered on a 12-race card.
Atlantic City Race Course ended its six-day all turf meet May 1 with total pari-mutuel handle in excess of $1 million for a seven-race program.
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races set another pari-mutuel handle record in April when it reported average daily handle of $1,367,336, up 1% from the same month in 2012.
Though total pari-mutuel handle during the recent winter/spring meet at Turfway Park fell almost 30% from the same meet in 2012, average daily handle was down 4% because of 11 fewer live racing days.
For the fifth consecutive year, Keeneland, which begins its spring meet April 5, topped the 2013 racetrack ratings produced by the Horseplayers Association of North America.
- By Tom LaMarra
Commingled pari-mutuel handle for March was $983,428,969, down only 0.11% from the same month in 2012, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase April 4.
Purses paid at six racetracks in Pennsylvania in 2012 increased 1% while wagering on the live product was up 12% from the previous year, according to the latest benchmark report prepared by regulators.
- By Tom LaMarra
Pari-mutuel wagering, purses, and race days all declined in February compared with the same month in 2012, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase March 4.
- By Tom LaMarra
Wagering on United States races dropped 2.02% in January when compared with the same month in 2012, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase Feb. 4.
Live and simulcast wagering on races at Delaware Park in 2012 totaled $116,771,915, down 22.08% from $149,862,434 in 2011, according to statistics released by the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission Jan. 17.
The number of Thoroughbred broodmares registered in Ohio in 2012 jumped 53.9% from 2011 to 2012, according to Ohio State Racing Commission statistics.
Despite a slight decline in wagering in December, total pari-mutuel handle on United States racing in 2012 was up 0.96%, the first increase since 2006, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course reported a 19.4% increase in all-sources pari-mutuel handle for 197 live racing days in 2012. Meanwhile, total purses jumped 11.6%.
The New York Racing Fan Advisory Council has released its formal recommendations for ways to improve horse racing in the state, and at the top of the list is lower pari-mutuel takeout.
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races reported that, for the first time in the track's 79 years of operation, average daily pari-mutuel handle topped the $1 million mark.
In this age of racetrack casinos, the message is very clear: Increase the focus on pari-mutuel wagering and don't consider gaming revenue for purses and other programs an entitlement.
A review of wagering on this year's World Championships indicated the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy cost Breeders' Cup roughly $9 million in pari-mutuel handle compared with 2011 figures, organization officials said.
Breeders' Cup is prepared to take a hit in pari-mutuel handle given the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast even though many wagering outlets were back in operation Nov. 2.
Monmouth Park registered gains in average daily attendance but declines in pari-mutuel handle for its 65-day meet, officials said Oct. 7, closing day of the meet.
- By Tom LaMarra
Aided by an increase in race days, pari-mutuel handle and purses in August registered the largest gains in recent memory, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released Sept. 5.
Pari-mutuel handle remained slightly ahead of last year even though it was down 7.37% in July when compared with the same month in 2011, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase.
Pari-mutuel handle at Del Mar continues to exceed 2011 levels, particularly on track, officials said July 29 after the second full week of racing.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club reported an increase in wagering for the racing season that ended July 15.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course reported double-digit increases in pari-mutuel handle on and off track for the fourth consecutive month in June.
Slot machine revenue for purses increased by more than $19 million at six Pennsylvania racetracks in 2011, while pari-mutuel handle and the revenue it produces for prize money continued to drop.
Canterbury Park in Minnesota has slashed the pari-mutuel takeout rate on Pick 3 and Pick 4 wagers by almost 40% for its upcoming meet.
Delaware Park opened its 75th season of Thoroughbred racing on a picture-perfect afternoon May 12 with a large, yet it was also set to face some challenges for the 100-day meet.
Churchill Downs Inc. reported net earnings of $1.4 million in the first quarter of 2012, a reversal from a $3.2 million loss during the first three months of 2011.
Racetracks reported an upswing in business because of the record-setting Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) program held May 5 at Churchill Downs.
In addition to record attendance, Churchill Downs reported record all-sources wagering of $187 million for its 13-race Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) program May 5.
Atlantic City Race Course wrapped up its six-day turf meet with large crowds and what was said to be the largest crowd at the New Jersey track in 25 years.
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