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.
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.
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.
Total pari-mutuel handle during the Laurel Park summer meet that ended Aug. 21 increased 20.2% from the comparable meet in 2015, according to Maryland Jockey Club statistics.
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.
Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort will be in the spotlight Aug. 6 with its $1.65 million all-stakes program featuring the West Virginia Derby. But on a day-to-day basis, the track continues to struggle in a difficult economic environment.
The West Virginia Racing Commission July 19 signed off on $1,170,000 in funding for purses for the 30th edition of the West Virginia Breeders' Classics Oct. 8 at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
The most lucrative North American race meet of the year thus far in terms of overnight purses begins July 22 with the opening of Saratoga Race Course.
Officials at Del Mar reported increases in attendance and pari-mutuel handle for the California track's opening three-day weekend.
Horse Racing Ireland July 14 reported generally positive economic indicators for the industry in the first half of 2016.
Prize money for the 2016-17 Hong Kong racing season will extend to another record level while purses for two of the Hong Kong Jockey Club's three spring group I features, the Champions Mile and Chairman's Sprint Prize, will be increased.
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.
Though the numbers will vary depending on revenue generated by video lottery terminals, purse accounts at West Virginia racetracks will take another hit because of a legislature-mandated reduction to help support the fiscal 2016-17 budget.
The Pennsylvania House June 30 approved substantive changes to the Thoroughbred breeding fund, some payments from which have been suspended for months because of problematic language in a horse racing reform bill that became law in February.
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.
Del Mar will drop overnight purses for a second consecutive year, according to Del Mar Thoroughbred Club vice president of racing and industry relations Tom Robbins.
Increased entry fees await participating owners in this year's Breeders' Cup World Championships but Breeders' Cup officials note that many owner benefits have been added to the event in recent years and more will be unveiled in 2016.
Michigan lawmakers have passed legislation designed to improve the condition of the struggling pari-mutuel horseracing industry, which is down to two racetracks in the state.
The Breeders' Cup World Championships will have its purses increased this year to $28 million from $26 million. Purses for the Classic and the Turf will each get $1 million bumps.
Suffolk Downs received approval from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission June 9 to use $2.4 million from the Race Horse Development Fund for purses over six days of Thoroughbred racing this year.
Woodbine Entertainment Group and the Ontario Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association June 7 said they have signed a contract that guarantees 133 days of live racing at Woodbine through 2018.
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.
A measure to end the state's control of the New York Racing Association is advancing in the New York legislature, and a key lawmaker said Gov. Andrew Cuomo has still not revealed his own idea for the future of the racing organization.
Because of an increase in pari-mutuel revenue from Kentucky Derby (gr. I) week business, Churchill Downs June 1 said it will increase overnight purses by 4% for the remainder of its spring meet, which ends July 2.
After months of saying Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack is at risk of closure, the organization representing horsemen at the upstate New York track have begun a statewide ad campaign.
Average daily pari-mutuel handle for the recent Laurel Park meet increased 34.6% from the comparable meet in 2015, the Maryland Jockey Club reported May 10.
Thoroughbred racing will return to Suffolk Downs for three two-day racing festivals, officials at the Massachusetts track said May 5. The mini-meets will be held in July, August, and September.
Total number of races and starts also increase.
Keeneland May 2 released final spring-meet numbers that show growth in on-track wagering and field size for the 16-day meet that ended April 29.
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.
More than $228 million was accrued for purses at six Pennsylvania racetracks in 2015 with almost 90% of the funds derived from slot machine revenue, according to an annual report that analyzes the racetrack gaming industry in the state.
Canterbury Park and its horsemen's group hope to make a statement this year with an across-the-board reduction in pari-mutuel takeout rates that will range from 15% to 18% for the 2016 meet.
Keeneland will begin its spring meet with a bump in overnight purses, but track officials hope it's the start of steady growth made possible by revenue from Lexington's historical race wagering facility.
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.
Gulfstream Park reported record total pari-mutuel handle of $807 million for its 85-day Championship meet that concluded April 3. Average daily handle was $9.49 million.
The head of the horsemen's group at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack is predicting the end of racing at the upstate Thoroughbred track, after a new state government budget deal failed to protect purse levels.
Horses are back training at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, where more than three months of down time in late fall and winter allowed time for improvements in the barn area.
A subcommittee of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission March 29 opted to delay a vote and instead solicit input on the percentage of revenue Thoroughbred and Standardbred purses and breeding funds get from casino gaming.
The final three weeks of racing will at Oaklawn Park this season will feature the highest purses in its history, the Arkansas racetrack announced March 23.
Revenue for horse racing is included in a casino-expansion referendum that will be put before New Jersey voters in November. The legislation states that not less than 2% of revenue would go to support horse racing.
A strong push to decouple racing from gaming officially hit the wall with the end of this year's Florida legislative session March 11, but a horsemen's coalition said it fully expects the issue to come up again in 2017.
With on- and off-track pari-mutuel wagering both up at the halfway point of its 2016 meet, Oaklawn Park has again raised overnight purses, this time by up to $5,000 a race.
Pro-racing lawmakers in West Virginia took part in a March 1 Capitol press conference to discuss the economic impact of Thoroughbred racing and breeding given legislation that would decouple live racing from gaming.
Legislation designed to modernize horse racing in Pennsylvania was signed into law Feb. 23 by Gov. Tom Wolf, who last fall threatened to shut down the industry because it couldn't pay for regulation.
As a result of better than expected pari-mutuel handle and an increase in video poker revenue throughout the meet, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced a purse increase effective for the final 14 days of the meet.
The Florida Senate Regulated Industries Committee Feb. 17 passed two pieces of legislation, one authorizing a compact with the Seminole tribe and another that would allow decoupling at most racetracks in the state.
Oaklawn Park in Arkansas will increase overnight purses by as much as $3,000 for overnight races and bump up purses for three stakes by $50,000.
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.
Legislation that would restore video lottery terminal-generated purse funds that have been diverted to pay down a workers' compensation debt has been introduced in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
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