Live Thoroughbred racing returned to the Chicago area Feb. 20 as Hawthorne Race Course began its season amid frigid weather and an equally challenging financial and political landscape.
The West Virginia Racing Commission Feb. 17 tabled a request by Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races to reduce the number of live racing dates it was awarded for 2015.
Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course will increase overnight purses by more than 5% effective March 2. The 2015 winter/spring meet at the Ohio track runs through April 25.
A state-approved 10% reduction in video lottery terminal revenue and continued softness in the regional gambling market have led officials and horsemen at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort to reduce purses.
ThistleDown Racino has increased the 2015 purse for the Ohio Derby to a record high of $500,000. In addition, daily purses at the 90-year-old track will average $130,000.
In a jump that could be related to larger average field sizes, pari-mutuel handle improved 1.52% in January compared with the same month last year, according to Thoroughbred racing economic indicators released by Equibase.
Advance deposit wagering via phone began Jan. 31 in Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Racing. However, for the time being, residents of Pima County won't be permitted to wager on Thoroughbred races.
Turfway Park will increase purses effective Jan. 30 with a slight across-the-board bump and an extra race per week, officials said.
As part of an examination of its equine medication rules, the Ohio State Racing Commission in February will begin hearing from various industry organizations involved in an effort to adopt uniform policies for all states.
- By Tom LaMarra
Javier Castellano not only accumulated the most purse earnings by a jockey in 2014 with $25,056,464, he won the most races -- 315 -- of any rider in North America.
- By Tom LaMarra
Total pari-mutuel handle on United States harness racing in 2014 was $1.49 billion, down about 6.6% from $1.60 billion in 2013, according to the United States Trotting Association.
The Maryland Jockey Club reported a decrease in pari-mutuel handle on live racing at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course in 2014, but total and average purses were up from 2013.
Pari-mutuel handle on U.S. races declined 2.84% in 2014, marking the seventh time in eight years that fewer dollars have been wagered.
Despite racing two fewer programs during its 2014 holiday meet, Turfway Park registered a 21.45% increase in total pari-mutuel handle compared with the comparable meet in 2013.
Gulfstream Park said Jan. 1 its total pari-mutuel handle on live racing in 2014 was a record $1.2 billion for one year.
Hawthorne Race Course reported increases in average daily pari-mutuel handle for its 2014 fall/winter meet, which ended Dec. 31.
A request by management and horsemen at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races to reduce the number of live racing days for 2015 has renewed a discussion about the future of West Virginia Thoroughbred racing.
The Ohio Thoroughbred Racing Fund, now fully supported by revenue from racetrack video lottery terminals, will almost double to more than $5 million in 2015.
The $1.5 million Charles Town Classic (gr. II), which has a new purse payout structure, again highlights the stakes schedule at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races for 2015.
Harness trainer Ron Burke's record-setting year continued the evening of Dec. 12 when he broke Todd Pletcher's North American record for purses won by a trainer. Pletcher held the mark of $28,116,097 set in 2007.
Keeneland will run the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes a week earlier on the schedule beginning next season and increase the purse to $1 million for its major Triple Crown prep race.
Churchill Downs wrapped up 2014 with a double-digit decline in all-sources wagering during the 24-day fall meet that concluded Nov. 30.
Officials at Turfway Park, which begins its four-month run of live racing Dec. 1, are hoping response at the entry box for the first two programs continues through December and into next year.
The Louisiana Racing Commission Oct. 21 ordered Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots to restore $2.7 million in purse supplements from video poker revenue for the upcoming Thoroughbred meet.
Horsemen owed $2.2 million in purses and owner rewards and an unknown amount from claiming transactions from the Presque Isle Downs meeting completed Sept. 25 are awaiting checks and looking for answers.
Delaware Park officials reported a decline in pari-mutuel handle for the 2014 racing season that ended Oct. 22 but said they will continue to explore ways to strengthen the product in a gambling-congested Mid-Atlantic region.
Canterbury Park Oct. submitted a request to the Minnesota Racing Commission for a 70-day live racing season in 2015 Oct. 23, up two days from this year. If approved, the meet would be the longest since 1992.
Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort and Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races were granted permission Oct. 15 to reduce live racing dates for the final months of 2014.
According to a Thoroughbred Racing Associations study, money from added-gaming sources now accounts for more than one-third of the purse money awarded in U.S. Thoroughbred racing.
Monmouth Park reported increases in on-track and export pari-mutuel handle, as well as attendance, for its 57-day meet that ended Sept. 28.
Citing pending litigation from Louisiana Quarter Horse owners, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots announced Sept. 17 that it will withhold $2.7 million in purse supplements at the upcoming meet.
While the amount of money wagered on each U.S. race increased in August, a decline in the number of races offered proved too steep a hurdle as total wagering declined 0.37% compared with August 2013.
Laurel Park opens its customary end-of-season meet Sept. 5 with an emphasis on turf racing and stakes clustered on multiple big-event days.
Ohio's three Thoroughbred racetracks have applied for a combined 293 racing days for 2015. There would be no overlap between ThistleDown Racino and Mahoning Valley Race Course, which are located not that far apart.
Eligible Oklahoma-bred horses competing at Remington Park are eligible for higher purse supplements.
Belterra Park, which opened for gaming and Thoroughbred racing in May, plans to reduce overnight purses by about 20% according to its next condition book effective Aug. 30.
- By Tom LaMarra
Equibase reports pari-mutuel wagering on United States Thoroughbred races in July was down 3.47% and purses fell 5.67% from the same month a year ago with 13 fewer race days.
The Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and Delaware Park are working to ensure horsemen are promptly paid purse money in light of delays in the receipt of results of equine drug tests.
First passed as a temporary surcharge in 2007, legislation has been signed into law again authorizing the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association to receive 2% of purse proceeds at New York Racing Association tracks.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has approved a plan to distribute an additional $1 million in purse money from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund in 2014 and 2015.
Los Alamitos Race Course officials July 13 said the eight-day summer Thoroughbred meet generated average daily total pari-mutuel handle of $5,070,966.
Delaware Park and the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association signed a one-year extension to their current agreement, which was scheduled to run through 2015.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club will offer 10 international group I races during its 2014-15 racing season and has increased total purses 10%.
Hong Kong racing will get a 7% prize money increase next season, according to William Nader, executive director of racing at the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Growth in out-of-state wagering on its product helped Pimlico Race Course record an increase in average daily pari-mutuel handle for the 2014 spring meet.
Though boosted by major racing days May 2-3 and a fifth Saturday in the month, worldwide commingled wagering on United States Thoroughbred races increased only 0.92% for May versus the same month in 2013.
Pennsylvania Thoroughbred breeding program continues to improve and offer healthy benefits, but breeders are keeping a watchful eye, again, on activities in the state Legislature.
The horsemen's group at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort has signed off on a plan to reduce racing days and the number of races at the West Virginia track later this year.
The West Virginia legislature ended a short special session May 21 and apparently left more than $14 million in gaming revenue to purses and breed development programs for horse and dog racing intact for fiscal year 2015.
Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort has asked the West Virginia Racing Commission for permission to drop 11 live racing programs in December and reduce the number of races it is scheduled to run in October and November.
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