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.
Pari-mutuel handle at this year's 78-day Aqueduct winter/spring meet was up across the board, the New York Racing Association reported April 26.
TVG, the racing network and advance deposit wagering service, reported substantial pari-mutuel handle gains by partner racetracks April 14.
Grade II winner Magical Feeling, a winner of more than half of her starts, added another victory to her record by taking the $200,000 Sugar Maple Stakes for fillies and mares at Charles Town Races April 14.
- By Tom LaMarra
Purses and pari-mutuel handle on Thoroughbred races continued a solid rebound in March with a slight increase in race days, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase.
All-sources pari-mutuel handle on Turfway Park races during its winter/spring meet dropped 11.2%, while ontrack handle on live racing was down 16.5%, track officials said April 2.
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races April 2 reported a record monthly all-sources pari-mutuel handle of $29,426,572 in March, while sister track Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course also reported wagering gains.
For the fourth consecutive year Keeneland is the top-rated racetrack under the Horseplayers Association of North America racetrack ratings system.
The United States Trotting Association has formed a committee to examine a proposal to use a small percentage of gaming revenue to support marketing and enhanced equine drug testing, but stopped short of endorsing the plan.
Sam Houston Race Park reported a 35% increase in live pari-mutuel handle and a 40% jump in attendance for its 31-day Thoroughbred meet, which ended March 12.
Ohio horsemen are lobbying the state Senate to alter language in House-passed legislation that would shift pari-mutuel revenue for breeding funds to municipalities that host racetracks.
- By Tom LaMarra
Unseasonably warm weather in February no doubt contributed to a 7.60% increase in wagering on United States races.
In yet another sign of trouble for the Kentucky horse racing industry, Turfway Park said it will slash overnight purses 25% effective March 3 because of an overpayment coupled with lower pari-mutuel handle.
An increase in pari-mutuel handle has led Gulfstream Park to raise purses 15% through the end of its meet, which concludes April 8.
Legislation that would tax pari-mutuel wagers made by Kentucky residents through advance deposit wagering services passed the House of Representatives by a 79-15 vote Feb. 24.
Oaklawn Park said overnight purses will increase $5,000 per day effective Feb. 9 because of improved business aided by good weather.
The ability to fill a greater number of higher-level races in December has led Turfway Park to trim some stakes toward the end of its 2012 winter/spring meet to meet the purse budget.
Horsemen hashed out the issue of high-volume bettors and rebates Jan. 13, and in the process got a fairly detailed look at their impact on pari-mutuel Thoroughbred racing in the United States.
Turfway Park will end its experiment with Saturday night racing effective Jan. 14, when it switches to a 1:10 p.m. first post.
Preliminary figures at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races show a 14.56% increase in gross all-sources pari-mutuel handle in 2011.
Gulfstream Park reported average daily all-sources pari-mutuel handle of about $6.6 million during its first 10 race days in December, surpassing management's expectations for its first December racing in several decades.
Turfway Park received permission from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Dec. 14 to lower the pari-mutuel takeout rate on Pick 4 wagers to 14% from 22% effective Jan. 1, 2012.
Difficulty in obtaining pari-mutuel wagering pool data and detailed player data is a major hindrance to the racing industry determining the optimal price point for takeout rates, symposium speakers said Dec. 7.
Several of the younger racetrack executives in the United States and overseas believe horse racing isn't going away any time soon--if the industry can adapt.
National handle on Thoroughbred racing continued to decline in November, though the dip is not nearly as pronounced as it was a year ago at this time.
The highly anticipated revised schedule in southeast Florida racing will arrive Dec. 3 when Gulfstream Park begins an 87-day meet that will extend through April 8, 2012.
Turfway Park will ask the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for permission to lower the pari-mutuel takeout rate on Pick 4 wagers to 14% from 22% effective Jan. 1, 2012.
The Kentucky General Assembly probably will consider legislation in 2012 that taxes bets made by Kentucky residents through advance deposit wagering systems to bolster the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.
Business at Monmouth Park this year expectedly dropped after what appears to be a one-time "Elite Meet" last year, but average daily figures were still much higher than those recorded for the comparable 2009 meet.
- By Tom LaMarra
Purses were up but pari-mutuel handle was down in October, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released Nov. 5 by Equibase.
The Breeders' Cup World Championships will be simulcast in about 25 countries this year, but officials said they continue to work on regulatory issues that are road-blocking common pools in those markets.
- By Tom LaMarra
The recommendations in the McKinsey Report, a document design to drive growth in Thoroughbred racing, already are being implemented, including plans for four consecutive Saturdays of television coverage next spring.
Keeneland overcame national trends during its 75th anniversary meet with a 9.3% gain in all-sources pari-mutuel handle on live races and an all-time attendance record for one meet.
Churchill Downs Inc. reported net earnings from continuing operations of $19.7 million for the third quarter of 2011, up significantly from $3.7 million for the third quarter of 2010.
River Downs, where the start of the 2011 race meet was delayed because of Ohio River flooding, reported gains in live handle and daily average purses.
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