Hampered by a 20.3% drop in total handle in December, wagering in the United States declined 7.2% in 2008 to record the lowest overall total in a decade.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association said Dec. 22 it has reached agreements on advance deposit wagering contracts with Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park.
Breeders' Cup, under fire for a plan to suspend the Breeders' Cup Stakes program, issued a memorandum Dec. 18 that in part explains the organization's financial situation and investment strategy.
Remington Park in Oklahoma recently completed its 20th season of Thoroughbred racing with a record purse disbursement and increased attendance, but followed national trends with a decline in most wagering statistics.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Dec. 15 signed legislation that extends the diversion to horse racing of 3% of revenue from the state's four highest-grossing riverboat casinos.
The Breeders' Cup board of directors has decided to fund the Breeders' Cup Stakes program for 2009 by using money from the organization's reserve fund, according to a statement dated Dec. 17.
Racetrack management and horsemen in Ohio struck an agreement Dec. 16 that will reinstate more than 160 Thoroughbred racing dates at Beulah Park and River Downs in 2009, and save more than 1,000 horses at Beulah Park from being forced out of the track's stable area by Dec. 27.
Five days after it announced it was suspending its North American Stakes program, Breeders' Cup apparently has reversed itself and decided to fund the program for 2009, according to two members of its board.
Kentucky horse racing and breeding industries are losing ground to other states, and if immediate action is not taken to stem the tide, the state could find itself in jeopardy of losing one of its signature industries, according to a 70-plus-page document released Dec. 15 by the Governor's Task Force on the Future of Horse Racing.
The Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 is a double-edge sword. And the debate over whether it should be amended continues.
The rejuvenated New York Racing Association has big plans for its new 25-year franchise, but president and chief executive officer Charles Hayward said Dec. 9 the organization has to plan wisely should revenue sources dry up.
The 2008 National Steeplechase Association season, which came to a close Nov.29 with the inaugural Palm Beach race meet, set new highs in total and average purses.
Wagering on Thoroughbred races fell almost 10% in November compared with November 2007, Equibase reported Dec. 3 in its monthly "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators." Purses dropped more than 2%, but race days increased more than 5%.
A study released by Ohio State Racing Commission offers a short-term action plan and a long-term strategy for the struggling horseracing industry in the Buckeye State, but one racetrack official said the quickest fix lies with the pen of Gov. Ted Strickland.
Calder Race Course will not hold any overnight stakes through the rest of its meet that ends Jan. 2, 2009. Five have been cut from the next condition book, which runs through Dec. 14.
The New Jersey Racing Commission granted 2009 racing dates Nov. 19 for Atlantic City Race Course and Freehold Raceway, two tracks that have been involved in conflicts tied to casino-paid purse supplements.
Two New Jersey lawmakers have taken a bipartisan approach in urging the governor to quickly form a committee to examine the state and future of the horse racing and breeding industry.
An ugly dispute over purse supplements for a New Jersey harness track could have long-term ramifications as officials devise a plan for the future of horse racing in the Garden State, and it also sheds light on the complications that can arise when racing and gaming are linked.
Churchill Downs, for the second time, has cut purses for its fall meet. Among the casualties is the grade II Clark Handicap scheduled for Nov. 28.
Issues surrounding a $90-million purse subsidy from Atlantic City casinos continue to plague the New Jersey horseracing industry.
About 1,000 Thoroughbreds could be forced to leave the grounds of Beulah Park by the end of this year if the racetrack and horsemen's association don't have a deal for advance deposit wagering revenue in place by Nov. 21, the day the Ohio State Racing Commission will award racing dates for 2009.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and Indiana Downs have submitted requests for 2009 schedules that could significantly impact surrounding states.
Beulah Park and the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association have "agreed to disagree" on contractual issues, but a temporary agreement has allowed the track to restore previous purse levels and export its signal.
Beulah Park, locked in a dispute that centers on revenue from advance deposit wagering, intends to resume live racing Oct. 22 but with greatly reduced purses and no export of its signal outside of Ohio.
The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, which represents owners and trainers at Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course, and the Oregon Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, comprised of horsemen competing at Portland Meadows, have voted to join the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group.
Handle on races in the United States sharply dropped 9.85% in the third quarter of this year, clearly in keeping with a trend that began in early 2008.
Turfway Park closed its 2008 fall meet with declines in all-sources and on-track handle, the Florence, Ky., track reported Oct. 3.
Presque Isle Downs reported a total handle of $31,425,213 for its 101-day meet that ended Sept. 28, a stand that was 76 days longer than the track's inaugural meet last year.
A new stakes worth up to $1 million will be offered next year at Charles Town Races & Slots in West Virginia.
Calder Race Course has announced another major cut in purses and the cancellation of eight $100,000 stakes races. The track, in a release, said it was trimming overnight purses by 17% effective Sept. 18.
Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino's recently concluded 2008 spring/summer Thoroughbred season posted all-time highs in average nightly handle, single-night handle, average field size, and purse distribution for the 84-night meet.
Ellis Park ended its annual racing meet Sept. 1 with a 3% drop in daily handle, despite broader signal distribution to advance deposit wagering outlets.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino kicks off a 14th season of Thoroughbred racing Aug. 29, and the 63-day meet will be one of change.
Calder Race Course has asked the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering for permission to hold live racing four days a week, rather than five, during 11 weeks beginning Sept. 1.
Total purses earned at Pennsylvania racetracks jumped 162% from 2006 to 2007 because of revenue from on-track slot machines, while the percentage of purses earned from pari-mutuel wagering dropped substantially during the same period, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board's first "benchmark report" on the impact of slots on pari-mutuel wagering.
The New York Racing Association, Inc. announced July 17 that purses for open company route races on the dirt and turf at Saratoga Race Course will be increased, based on the number of horses in a race.
Despite downward trends in wagering nationwide, Indiana Downs bucked the trend by staying relatively flat during its 54-day Thoroughbred meet that ended July 8.
Pari-mutuel handle took a hit but purses gained a bit in the second quarter of 2008, according to the "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators" for United States and Canadian pari-mutuel wagering on U.S. Thoroughbred racing.
Calder Race Course resumed sending its signal to racetracks outside Florida July 10, and started receiving its full regular menu of simulcast signals from other tracks.
The Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group is calling for a meeting with the Thoroughbred Racing Associations to discuss advance deposit wagering revenue given ongoing conflict between horsemen, racetracks, and ADW providers over equitable revenue splits.
The slots era in Indiana is off to a strong start as the casinos at both Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs combined to pull in a little more than $26 million in adjusted gross receipts during the first month of operation.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association issued a statement July 8 thanking Calder horsemen who "took the full brunt" of purse cuts during a 2 1/2-month dispute with track owner Churchill Downs Inc.
Churchill Downs Inc. announced July 7 that it has signed contracts with the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association on 2008 purses and on potential future slot machine revenue at CDI-owned Calder Race Course.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association announced July 5 it has reached an agreement with Churchill Downs Inc. on purses and slot machine revenue for Calder Race Course. If the contracts are signed, Calder could export its July 12 "Summit of Speed" program to tracks around the country.
Negotiations between Ellis Park and the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association continued July 5 in an effort to resolve a dispute that led the western Kentucky racing to shut down the day before its summer meet was to begin.
Ellis Park's owner said the western Kentucky racetrack won't hold its meet this summer, though horsemen want the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority to intervene. Could another track get the dates?
What is viewed as the strongest "open" racing card in the history of Charles Town Races & Slots will be held June 21, with the centerpiece of the evening a $200,000 invitational at the West Virginia track's signature 4 1/2-furlong distance.
Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino has increased overnight purses by more than 5% to bring the nightly average to more than $190,000 effective June 21.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association's general counsel said June 10 his organization could sign agreements "in the very near future" on 2008 purses and future slot-machine revenue at Calder Race Course.
Hampered by a double-digit handle decline on its biggest race card, the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Pimlico Race Course realized a 16.5% drop in all-sources wagering for its 31-day meet that closed June 7.
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