CDI Thinking Long-Term in Sports Wagering Rollout

Dollars and Sense examines industry business trends

While other companies have made a bigger initial splash in sports wagering, Churchill Downs Inc. has taken a more patient approach  aimed at long-term success, making 2021 a key year.

Under a strategy it believes will save on marketing costs compared with other companies in the emerging sports wagering market, CDI plans to leverage the success of its advance-deposit wagering platform, TwinSpires.com, to attract sports bettors. There has never been a better time for that approach as TwinSpires enjoyed massive growth in 2020 as the pandemic forced horseplayers from on-track and simulcast outlets to the mobile and Internet platforms offered by their ADWs.

To close out 2020, TwinSpires.com saw three straight quarters of double-digit percentage growth in handle. In the fourth quarter, compared with the fourth quarter of 2019, handle increased 45% and the number of active players spiked by 50%. It’s a trend that Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen noted has continued into 2021.

 

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New Equine Virus Tied to Rise in Foal Diarrhea Cases

An existing equine Rotavirus A vaccine offers no protection.

 

A new Rotavirus not previously seen in horses is the culprit behind a rash of foal diarrhea cases seen during the first several months of the year at farms in Central Kentucky, according to researchers at the University of Kentucky’s Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center and the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

Because the virus is a different strain it could not be detected using existing diagnostic tests for equine Rotavirus A and also the currently available commercial vaccine does not provide any protection.

“This is not a mutation. This is a whole different virus for horses,” said Dr. David Horohov, chair of the Department of Veterinary Science and director of the Gluck Equine Research Center.

 

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Hernandez Brothers Both Win Stakes at Keeneland

Change of Control provided Colby Hernandez with his first Keeneland stakes victory.

 

When two siblings ride stakes winners at a track on the same card, more often than not it is the dynamic duo of Irad Ortiz Jr. and his brother, Jose—both Eclipse Award-winning jockeys.

But they aren’t the ones. On April 10 at Keeneland, brothers Brian Hernandez Jr. and younger brother, Colby, managed the unique accomplishment. Colby notched his first Keeneland stakes win on Change of Control  in the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway Stakes, a half-hour before Brian recorded his 12th Keeneland stakes triumph when he rode King Fury  to victory in the $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington Stakes (G3).

It wasn’t the first time the two won stakes on a specific card, suspects Brian, the elder of the two.

 

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Horologist Makes Successful Return From Layoff In Top Flight Invitational

Three-time graded stakes winner Horologist recaptured her 2020 form in notching a comeback triumph in Saturday’s 80th running of the $100,000 Top Flight Invitational, a nine-furlong test for older fillies and mares at Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, N.Y.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the New Jersey-bred daughter of Gemologist is owned by There’s A Chance Stable, Medallion Racing, Abbondanza Racing, Parkland Thoroughbreds, Paradise Farms Corporation and David Staudacher.

Last season, Horologist put together a successful 4-year-old campaign which earned her New Jersey Horse of the Year honors. Her accomplishments included triumphs in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park and the Grade 2 Beldame Invitational at Belmont Park, where she finished ahead of graded stakes winners Point of Honor and Dunbar Road. Horologist capped off her prosperous season in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland when ninth to Monomoy Girl.

 

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LOUISIANA DOWNS 2021 THOROUGHBRED LIVE RACING SEASON TO GET UNDERWAY ON SATURDAY, MAY 1

The 84-Day Meet Will Run Through September 22

 

Bossier City, LA – The 2021 Thoroughbred racing season at Louisiana Downs will commence on Saturday, May 1. The dates were approved by  Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC).

 

The stable area opened on April 8 for horsemen who have been allocated stalls for the 2021Thoroughbred season.  Ship in hours will be from 11:00 am–5:00 pm and trainers must contact Natalie Moses at (318) 820-8324 prior to shipping. The 2021 Quarter Horse live racing season concluded on April 7 with those conditioners continuing to ship to Delta Downs or other upcoming Quarter Horse meets.

 

“Our Quarter Horse meet recently wrapped up and we are happy to return to our previous Thoroughbred schedule, which was delayed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing. “We look forward to welcoming our Thoroughbred trainers for a successful racing season.”

 

The first condition book for May 1-24 is available on Equibase. Further information on the Thoroughbred stakes schedule will be forthcoming, but officials have confirmed that the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby will not be contested in 2021.

 

The 84-day meet will continue through Wednesday, September 22 with live racing to run Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at 2:45 pm (Central).  There will also be one Sunday race card on  July 4. For details on simulcasting and special events, visit Louisiana Downs racing.com.

 

About Louisiana Downs

Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.

Texas 2-Year-Old Sale Posts Record-Breaking Numbers

Wednesday’s Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale at Lone Star Park recorded the highest gross, average and median since the Texas Thoroughbred Association and Lone Star took over operation of the auction in 2016.  

 

A total of 89 horses sold from 104 offered for total sales of $2,907,700, a 66% increase from the 2019 auction total of $1,751,400 (the 2020 sale was cancelled due to COVID-19). The average price this year was $32,671, a jump of 39.9% from the 2019 average of $23,352, and the median increased by 37.9% to $20,000 from $14,500. The buyback rate was 14.4%, compared to 31.8% in 2019. 

 

“This was one of the best sales we’ve ever had at Lone Star Park, including the prior years with Fasig-Tipton,” said Tim Boyce, sales director. “We had a big crowd in the sales pavilion and lots of action with online bidding, so that speaks well about the demand for Texas-breds, Louisiana-breds, Oklahoma-breds and racehorses in general in this region. The increased purses and incentives in Texas have made the Southwest an even more desirable place to race than it already was.” 

 

Hip 85, named The Reese Beast, brought a sale-topping bid of $240,000 from Austin Gustafson, agent. Consigned by Asmussen Horse Center, agent, the Virginia-bred Tiznow filly is out of the winning and stakes-producing Jump Start mare Delta Weekend. She galloped at the under tack show held Monday at Lone Star.  

 

Two horses sold for $150,000 as the second-highest price of the sale, and both were Louisiana-breds consigned by Pike Racing, agent. Hip 36, a Louisiana-bred colt by Overanalyze, went to Highlander Training Center after working an eighth-mile in :10 2/5. The colt is a half brother to multiple Louisiana stakes winner Mirabeau. The fastest horse from the under tack show, hip 57 with a clocking of :10 flat, also brought $150,000 and sold to Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch. Named Wupkar, the filly is out of the Songandaprayer mare Anne Margaret, who has produced two stakes-placed runners.  

 

Benchmark Training Center, agent, as the leading consignor by total sales at $622,700. Pike Racing was the leading consignor by average, with four sales for an average of $105,750. 

 

For complete sale results, go to www.ttasales.com. 

The Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale is today (Wednesday) at 12 noon Central at Lone Star Park.

Following is some important information regarding traffic for those attending the sale, as well as about online video and online bidding.
TRAFFIC UPDATE:
If you plan to attend today’s sale in person, please use the simulcast entrance to the track and proceed to the sale area. COVID-19 vaccinations are being administered at the theatre adjacent to the track, so the main entrance on Belt Line Road may experience significant traffic.
ONLINE VIDEO:
Live video of the sale will be available at www.ttasales.com. No login or registration will be required to view the video.
ONLINE BIDDING:
Online bidding is available for this sale, but bidders must register and be approved in advance. Get more info by clicking here.

Louisiana-bred Filly Posts Fastest Time in Advance of Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale

For more information, contact Mary Ruyle at maryr@texasthoroughbredcom 

 

Louisiana-bred Filly Posts Fastest Time in Advance of Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale 

 

Hip 57. Denis Blake/Texas Thoroughbred Association photo.

A Louisiana-bred filly by Bind worked an eighth-mile in :10 flat as the fastest time in Monday’s under tack show for the Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale at Lone Star Park. The breeze show was held under sunny skies with a steady headwind throughout the day. The sale is set for Wednesday at 12 noon. 

Consigned by Pike Racing, agent, Hip 57 was the sixth horse to breeze in the under tack show. The February 27 foal, named Wupkar, is out of the Songandaprayer mare Anne Margaret, who has produced four winners. Two of those winners are stakes-placed, including $346,012 earner Adrianne G.  

A single horse worked a quarter-mile, with Hip 113, an Ohio-bred colt by Midshipman, clocking the distance in :24 4/5. 

“We had a nice crowd on hand today with more people in attendance than I remember over the past several years,” said Tim Boyce, sales director. “We had some very strong works on the track, despite a pretty solid headwind.” 

Videos of the under tack show will be posted later this evening at www.ttasales.com.

 

2021undertack

Faucheux, Graham, Godolphin Take Home Meet Titles as Fair Grounds Closes Out 149th Season of Racing

Purses Raised Three Times During Banner Meet

New Orleans (March 29, 2021) – Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots wrapped up the 149th season of racing on Sunday, March 28, and while times were a bit more trying because of the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, simulcast business was exceptionally strong due to the tremendous support from both horseman and bettors alike. The meet, which kicked off with the traditional Thanksgiving Day opener on November 26, included 76 racing days and it was highlighted, as always, by the 108th running of the $1 million TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2).

“It was a meet like no other but we are extremely proud of everyone who came together to put out a great product on a day-in, day-out basis,” Fair Grounds senior director of racing Jason Boulet said. “We are extremely grateful to the horseman and our fans and bettors for their continued support throughout the meet.”

The meet reached its zenith on March 20, when the Louisiana Derby highlighted a robust 14-race card that included eight stakes. Known as “the big three” for their accomplishments at the meet, Lecomte (G3) winner Midnight Bourbon, Risen Star (G2) victor Mandaloun, and Proxy, who was the runner-up in both of those races, would meet again in the Louisiana Derby, but it was Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing, and William Strauss’ California invader Hot Rod Charlie who would post the gate to wire victory for trainer of record Leandro Mora (Doug O’Neill). The Oxbow colt earned 100 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve in the process.

The co-featured TwinSires.com Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) once again played out to be a key prep for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1). Carded one race prior to the Louisiana Derby, the Fair Grounds Oaks was billed as the battle between budding rivals in OXO Equine’s Travel Column, trained by Brad Cox, and Stonestreet Stables’ homebred Clairiere, trained by Steve Asmussen. The pair had split their previous two encounters, with Travel Column taking the Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill and Clairiere turning the tables in locally run Rachel Alexandra (G2) in February. Travel Column got the jump on Clairiere to win the Fair Grounds Oaks, and the duo once again ran one-two in what was a sure precursor to the Kentucky Oaks.

In a race that brought that much more of a national scope to one of the biggest days of the year in New Orleans, Robert and Lawana Low’s Colonel Liam, arguably the best turf course in the country off his win in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1), invaded to take the Muniz Memorial Classic (G2) for trainer Todd Pletcher.

The Louisiana Derby Day card also marked the return of a small number of fans to Fair Grounds for the first time in over a year as the effects of COVID-19 forced the track to conduct live racing with no patrons, as only essential employees, licensed horsemen (including owners) and credentialed media were allowed on track. A select group of tickets were sold to the general public and marked a welcome, albeit brief, return of the fans who have long supported local racing and made Fair Grounds one of the best racing venues in the country.

Trainer Ron Faucheux won his coveted first ever trainer’s title with 40 wins, while dethroning four-time defending champion and Eclipse Award winner Brad Cox (37 wins) in the process. Both 11-time local titlist Tom Amoss (35), as well as Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen (33), made runs at Faucheux, with the former holding the lead for much of the meet, while Joe Sharp completed the top-5 with 23 wins. Faucheux scored a stakes win with Monte Man in the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint in December and in the end the New Orleans native was too strong from start-to-finish to secure a title that clearly hit close to home.

“It means the world,” Faucheux said. “Being here, being from New Orleans and coming to this track since I was a child. This is what it’s all about. We have so many people that put their faith in us. I have some great owners. I have the best help. This is my track; this is the best track in the country, as far as I’m concerned, and it’s a privilege and an honor to be a part of it.”

Cox, who was in contention for a five-peat until the penultimate day of racing, left with plenty of hardware of his own. He won the Oaks with Travel Column and the Risen Star (G2) Presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln with Mandaloun, along with three other stakes. Asmussen had a strong meet as well, winning six stakes. Clairiere’s win in the Rachel Alexandra was the barn highlight, though Midnight Bourbon flashed his Kentucky Derby form when he won the Lecomte (G3) in January to kick off the local 3-year-old stakes series. Asmussen also posted his remarkable 100thcareer Fair Grounds stakes when Joy’s Rocket captured the Letellier Memorial on December 19.

James Graham not only repeated to win the jockey’s title for the third time, but he obliterated his total of 63 wins last year, posting a seismic 88 on the board to hold off Adam Beschizza (85), with Mitchell Murrill (73) nabbing a podium finish as well. Colby Hernandez (69) bested his brother Brian (56) to round out the top-5.

“It means everything,” Graham said. “We kept digging away and plowing through and doing what we had to do. My stock ran really good this year and everything ran accordingly. It’s been a fantastic meet. You can’t race anywhere better in the wintertime; Fair Grounds is the best. I’m over the moon and ecstatic.”

Beschizza, buoyed by eight stakes wins, led all jockeys in purses earned with $3,115,764, edging Graham, who checked in with $2,996,153. Brian Hernandez Jr. and Florent Geroux also enjoyed strong meets with seven stakes wins apiece.

The owners’ race went down to the wire as well, with Godolphin edging Chester Thomas’ Allied Racing Stable 13-12, with End Zone Athletics checking in third with 11. Maggi Moss (9) was fourth, with Evelyn Benoit’s Brittlyn Stable, Wayne T. Davis (8), Whispering Oaks Farm, and Winalot Racing rounding out the top-5 with eight wins apiece.

Godolphin led in purses won with $767,440, with the heavy lifting coming from Maxfield, who scored stakes wins in the Tenacious in December and Louisiana (G3) in January for trainer Brendan Walsh. In addition, their Proxy was second in the in the Lecomte and Risen Star, and fourth in the Derby, for trainer Mike Stidham.

Twelve horses won at least three races at the meet, with All Fact and Treys Midnight Moon leading the way with four each. Big Time, Dalika (Ger), Elle Z, Logical Myth, Maxfield all won two stakes at the meet.

On Saturday, February 27, Fair Grounds hosted “New Vocations Day at the Races”. Hosted on the simulcast show by retired jockey Rosie Napravnik, a four-time local champion, and Fair Grounds personality Joe Kristufek, the event was created in order to raise the awareness of all aspects of racehorse aftercare. In addition to on-line donations, several jockeys, trainers and owners contributed a percentage of that day’s earnings, and over $8,000 was raised to help support the Louisiana division of New Vocations.

Both Handle and betting support were strong from Opening Day to Closing Day, no doubt helped by the elimination of the Black Gold 5, a jackpot Pk5 bet which was replaced by a traditional early and late Pk5, which were welcomed by handicappers. As a result, from the strong simulcast handle, management was able to raise purses 10% across the board three separate times at the meet, which only strengthened an already sterling local product. And while the often-unpredictable local weather made turf racing a challenge, racing secretary Scott Jones was more than happy with the end result, while eagerly looking ahead to a milestone 150th season next November.

“We would like to thank all the horsemen for their continued support which makes Fair Grounds one of the premier winter destinations and I’m looking forward to our 150th season,” Jones said. “Considering it was one of the wettest winters in New Orleans and all the other challenges, handle was very strong and we were able to raise purses three times at the meet.”