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.
The temporary "Indiana Live!" slot-machine casino at Indiana Downs opened to the public June 9, ushering in a richer future for the state's horsemen. But purses won't be going up any time soon.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and Churchill Downs Inc. are planning to meet June 9 to discuss contracts for CDI-owned Calder Race Course, where the financial impacts of a dispute are worsening each week.
Churchill Downs will supplement the purse for the June 14 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) to $1 million if at least one grade I winner starts in the race.
Purse bonuses under the Delaware Certified Thoroughbred Program at Delaware Park were increased June 1.
Calder Race Course on May 9 announced it will cut purses for eight upcoming stakes, including six on its July 12 Summit of Speed card.
Churchill Downs announced May 9 a 20% purse cut for its spring meet effective May 14, laying the blame on horsemen's groups for rejecting offers on signal distribution.
Average daily purse distribution at Zia Park Racetrack will increase to more than $300,000, which should attract top racehorses from throughout the Midwest and western United States.
A Churchill Downs Inc. official said May 7 purses at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., could be cut the week of May 11, while Calder Race Course in South Florida could face another reduction in purses.
The head of a Kentucky horsemen's association said his group withheld approval for the Churchill Downs signal to go out to a pair of offshore rebate shops for the undercards of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), and is aggravated that the track is blaming horsemen for a decline in handle on the two programs.
Declines in on-track wagering, a dispute with the New York Racing Association over signal fees, and horsemen's refusal to allow six major advance deposit wagering outlets to take its signal has led River Downs to cut purses 15%-18% effective May 8.
Churchill Downs Inc. has invested $100 million in advance deposit wagering for a reason: The company believes it's the major growth channel for pari-mutuel wagering, as well as a means to drive traffic to the racetrack, CDI president and chief executive officer Bob Evans said.
Calder Race Course announced April 21 due to the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association's refusal to approve the distribution of Calder races to out-of-state wagering outlets, including advance deposit wagering companies, the racetrack has been forced to cut purses by 30%, effective April 27. The purse reductions will affect a variety of race conditions, including stakes races.
The Delaware Certified Thoroughbred Program, formed earlier in the decade to preserve farmland and offer incentives for horses domiciled in the state, now has almost 1,300 registered Thoroughbreds, according to the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.
Florida horsemen and officials at Calder Race Course and parent company Churchill Downs Inc. met April 14 but did not agree on contracts for the Calder meet that begins April 21.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has given the new national Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group authority to negotiate terms with advance deposit wagering companies for betting on races at South Florida Thoroughbred racetracks. Also, Florida horsemen want an agreement on slots revenue with Calder before any contracts are signed.
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed legislation April 11 that allows a $90-million purse supplement for New Jersey racetracks to move forward. Now, the racing industry must decide how the money will be divvied up for purses at perhaps four racetracks.
As Calder Race Course prepares to open its 2008 meet April 21, the question of how to divide any future slot-machine revenue is holding up contract talks between the Miami Gardens, Fla., track and the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protection Association.
Turfway Park ended its 2008 winter/spring meet with declines in wagering on its races both on track and from all sources.
As Atlantic City Race Course prepares for a six-day all-turf meet, from April 23-25 and April 30-May 2, many observers believe it will be the last hurrah for the New Jersey track that opened in 1946.
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