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Oaklawn Trims Purses at Start of Meet

Approximate 15% reduction in overnight purses from first condition book.

Overnight purses have been reduced in advance of the start of the Oaklawn Park meet, a 57-day run which will begin Jan. 22. The Arkansas track is making the move due to limiting attendance because of social distancing requirements because of COVID-19. The news was first reported by Mary Rampellini of Daily Racing Form, who reported average daily purses will be about $600,000 instead of the originally projected $700,000, for about a 15% reduction. Stakes purses will not be altered.

An Oaklawn spokesperson confirmed the track’s first condition book is being reprinted with the new overnight purse structure.

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Fair Grounds Announces Second Purse Increase of the Meet

Fair Grounds Announces Second Purse Increase of the Meet

Continued Strong Business Prompts Another Daily Bump

New Orleans (January 8, 2021) – For the second time in the young 2020-21 meet, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced a 10% purse increase across the board. Much like the first, the boost was inspired by strong simulcast handle during the first seven weeks of the 149th racing season, which includes solid bettor response to the newly implemented traditional early and late Pk5 wagers.

“Despite losing multiple days of turf racing, handle has remained quite strong,” Fair Grounds’ racing secretary Scott Jones said. “Condition book four will be released the beginning of next week, and we’re happy to be in a position to raise purses for a second time. We’d once again like to thank the owners, trainers and fans who have been supporting our day-to-day racing product.”

As a result of the increase, which will go into effect for condition book #4 (which starts February 3, 2021), purses on allowance races will be bumped up $5,000, the mid-level races will be boosted by $3,000, while all other races will receive a $2,000 hike. Maiden special weight races will now be worth $55,000. The purse increase includes both open races and Louisiana-bred races.

Entries for the Wednesday, February 3 card will be drawn one week earlier on Wednesday, January 27, 2021.

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Fair Grounds Announces Purse Increase

Strong Early Business Prompts Daily Bump

New Orleans (December 13, 2020) – Inspired by strong simulcast handle during the first three weeks of the 149th racing season, which includes solid bettor response to the newly implemented traditional early and late Pk5 wagers, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced a 10% purse increase across the board.

“We’re extremely excited to announce a 10% increase to our daily purse structure,” Fair Grounds’ racing secretary Scott Jones said. “Based on the strong early handle returns and continued support from our owners and horseman, we are in a position to raise purses.”

As a result of the increase, which will go into effect for condition book #3 (which starts January 1, 2021), purses on allowance races will be bumped up $3,000, while all other races will receive a $2,000 hike. Maiden special weight races will now be worth $50,000. The purse increase includes both open races and Louisiana-bred races.

Entries for the Friday, January 1 card will be drawn on Saturday, December 26, 2020.

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HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS ANNOUNCES PURSE INCREASE OF $1,500 PER RACE BEGINNING AUGUST 8

The Annual Louisiana Cup Day Will Take Place on Saturday, September19 with the Support of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA)

 

Bossier City, LA – Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to announce that overnight purses will be increased by $1,500 for the remainder of the 2020 Thoroughbred meet. The adjustment will go into effect on Saturday, August 8 and will continue through the conclusion of the racing season on Wednesday, September 23.

“We thank our local horsemen for their support since the live racing season began on June 6,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. “This has been a very challenging year due to COVID-19, so we are pleased to reward these hard working men and women with a purse increase of $1,500 across the board.”

Further good news is that Louisiana Cup Day will be held at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs on Saturday, September 19.  The annual day of racing, which traditionally takes place in August, showcases accredited Louisiana-bred Thoroughbreds. Due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the event was put on hold, but Roger Heitzmann, Executive Director of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA); Ed Fenasci, Executive Director of the HBPA and David Heitzmann, director of Racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, have worked diligently to put the annual stakes day back on the calendar.  On June 16, the LTBA Board of Directors voted to earmark $100,000 for Louisiana Cup Day.

“We are grateful to LTBA for allocating the funds so we can run Louisiana Cup Day once again this year,” added Heitzmann. “This is a very important day for our breeders, horsemen, and of course, the fans at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.”

Louisiana Cup Day Featured Stakes                                   

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile                    2 YO LA-Bred                        Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies          2 YO Fillies LA-Bred             Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Filly & Mare Sprint  3 YO & Up F&M, LA-Bred  Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint                        3 YO & Up LA-Bred              Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic              3 YO & Up LA-Bred              1 1/16 miles (T)

$40,000 Louisiana Distaff                              3 YO & Up F & M LA-Bred  1 1/16 miles (T)

 

Post Times and Racing Dates

The 2020 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs got underway on Saturday, June 6. The 64-day meet will run Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday through September 23. Post time is 3:05 pm (Central).

About Harrah’s 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.

 

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Remington Park Cuts Stakes Purses Due to COVID-19

Total stakes purse money for 2020 is $2.88 million, an $820,000 reduction from 2019.

Remington Park, set to begin a 67-date Thoroughbred season Aug. 21, released a stakes schedule July 29 that features 32 races and a reduced purse structure due to COVID-19.

Total purse money for the stakes schedule is $2.88 million, a reduction of $820,000 from 2019. The lower structure is due to two months of inactivity from mid-March to late-May when Remington Park halted simulcast racing and casino gaming for health and safety measures because of the pandemic.

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OAKLAWN ANNOUNCES FIRST PURSE INCREASE OF THE MEET

Keeping with the trend that has become the norm over the last 14 years, Oaklawn’s purses are on the rise again.

Beginning with Saturday’s race card, Oaklawn will increase purses for all overnight races by as much as $4,000.

“This is only possible because of the tremendous support we continue to receive from our horsemen and fans,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “We promised a New Level of Racing at the beginning of the season and we are delivering. Our field sizes (9.5 avg.) are among the highest in nation, we have horsemen participating from both coasts as well as the Midwest, and the fans are responding. We could not be more excited about the rest of the season.”

First level allowance races will be worth at least $90,000, after receiving a $4,000 increase, and maiden special weight races will be boosted to $87,000, with a $2,000 increase. Purses for all claiming races with a claiming price of $20,000 or more will also receive a $2,000 bump, and all other overnight purses are increasing by $1,000 per race.

“Everything is coming together nicely,” Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith said. “We have completed the expansion of our casino, and construction is moving right along on the hotel and event center. This is an exciting time for Oaklawn and we are very happy to share our good fortune with the horsemen. It’s awesome to be offering the richest winter racing in North America with allowance races starting over $90,000.”

The purse increase was welcome news to the horsemen.

“I think it’s great,” said trainer Mike Puhich, who is among several new trainers wintering at Oaklawn this year. “Most tracks are kind of hoarding the money, and these guys are throwing it back to the horsemen, which is always good. You love to see that.”

Added trainer Brad Cox, perennially among Oaklawn’s leading trainers. “We’re supporting the program already, but it’s great. These are the best purses in the country. It’s rewarding to show up and have a barn here. It makes it worth your while. It’s great for wintertime racing.”

“I try to run more horses where the money’s at,” owner Mike Waters said. “Every time Oaklawn announces a purse increase, the California and the East Coast guys all take notice. It’s a nice place to run for these purses, that’s for sure.”

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Lone Star Overnight Purses Increase for Upcoming Meet

Track officials announced a nearly 43% increase for the Thoroughbred meet.

 

Lone Star Park officials on Feb. 5 announced an increase of nearly 43% to overnight purses for the upcoming Thoroughbred racing season. Overnight race purses this year average $200,000 a day—the richest in a decade—compared to $140,000 in 2019.

“This boost in overnight purses has energized Lone Star Park in a way that we haven’t experienced in a lot of years,” director of racing Bart Lang said. “This is a very exciting time for the Grand Prairie, Texas, racetrack.”

The increase is possible because of funds collected and distributed to the track by the passage of House Bill 2463 last year. The new law, which went into effect Sept. 1, enhances purses at the state’s racetracks.

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Purses Up, Pari-Mutuel Handle Down in 2019

Decline in pari-mutuel handle ends a four-year stretch of gains.

For all of racing’s problems in 2019, there certainly were plenty of locations where horsemen had reason for optimism behind strong purses. But, there most assuredly are numbers of concern in the year-end economic indicators released Jan. 6 by Equibase.

Fueled by strong purse growth in Kentucky—specifically Churchill Downs—purses for races in the United States increased 4.5% in 2019 to $1,167,921,650 compared with 2018. It’s the second straight season of strong growth for U.S. purses as they improved 3.5% in 2018.

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Texas Horse Racing To Get Purse Boost From New Law Diverting Sales Tax On Horse Products

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As much as $17.5 million per year could be used to support Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse purses in Texas as a result of legislation signed into law last weekend by Gov. Greg Abbott.

House Bill 2463 diverts sales taxes on horse feed, tack and other horse-related products and services from the state’s general fund to an escrow account established by the Texas Racing Commission and capped at $25 million annually. No more than 70% of the funds in the escrow account may go toward purses. If the escrow account reaches $25 million, that would be an additional $17.5 million in purse money annually, virtually doubling the current amount, based on an economic study conducted by TXP Inc. consultants.

 

Read Paulick Report Article Here

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Growth in Average Daily Purses Among U.S. Tracks

MarketWatch: Top 10 tracks by percentage increase

 

Changes made in 2017 to federal tax withholding and reporting on winning pari-mutuel wagers was expected to boost overall handle figures by promoting more churn through the windows. Higher churn was then expected to boost purses, which are fueled largely from a percentage of wagering.

Expectations came to fruition, with Equibase reporting growth in both United States purses and handle reported for 2018. Wagering increased 3.3% to more than $11.26 billion and purses grew 3.5% to more than $1.11 billion.

Just how deeply were racetracks affected by this growth?

Significantly, according to an annual review of average daily purses compiled per track by BloodHorse MarketWatch. Look for a complete breakdown in the Feb. 16 issue of BloodHorse magazine. In the meantime, MarketWatch wanted to see which of the larger race meets saw the biggest increases in average daily purse between 2017 and 2018.

Our annual purse review includes racetracks that ran at least five live dates and paid gross purses of $100,000 or more. These criteria fit 84 racetracks in 2017, of which 46 (55%) reported an increase in average daily purses compared with 2016. In 2018, 80 racetracks met the criteria and of these 50 (62.5%) reported an increase in average daily purse.

Among racetracks running 50 or more days of live racing, Delta Downs reported the largest increase in average daily purse—a 32% increase to $273,809. Since 2001, Delta Downs has had the benefit of slots machines to enhance purses. The top 10 racetracks by percent increase in average daily purse include only two that do not offer any kind of alternative gambling. Those who reported growth without the benefit of slot machines or card tables are Arlington International Racecourse, up 14%, and Golden Gate Fields, up 7.9%.

Arlington was able to increase its purses in 2018 due to an underpayment in the 2017 purse account and because state lawmakers approved more than $1.6 million for owners awards and stakes races, according to the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders Fund. Arlington paid an average $239,114 in purses last year, which apparently helped raise field size slightly from 7.23 starters per race to 7.46.

Golden Gate Fields was reportedly able to grow its handle by separating its post times from the biggest races across the country, racing secretary Patrick Mackey told the San Francisco Chronicle last August. With bettors more engaged due to the changes in withholding and some additional help from bad weather and cancellations in the East, Golden Gate was able to increase its out-of-state handle by 48% and bolster its total handle by 18%.

“We had competitive races for leading rider and trainer, and not a lot of races with 1-5 or 2-5 shots winning,” Mackey told the Chronicle. “The days of (trainer) Jerry (Hollendorfer) and (jockey) Russell (Baze) winning every race at 2-5 are gone. It’s a different product where you can find betting value. When you have gamblers behind you, they keep coming back.”

 

Leading Racetracks by % Increase in Avg. Daily Purse, ‘17-’18

Includes racetracks running 50 or more live race dates in 2018

Track (State)

’18 Dates

2018 Avg. Starter”

2018 Daily Avg. Purse

% Chg. Avg. ‘17-’18

2018 Gross Purse

Delta Downs (LA)

83

8.68

$273,809

32%

$22,726,110

Mahoning Valley Race Course (OH)

100

8.61

$150,644

18%

$15,064,430

Gulfstream Park (FL)

198

8.30

$469,242

17%

$92,909,925

Arlington Int’l Racecourse (IL)

71

7.46

$239,114

14%

$16,977,066

JACKS Thistledown (OH)

100

7.29

$166,986

12%

$16,698,586

Aqueduct (NY)

91

7.16

$541,328

10%

$49,260,878

Albuquerque Downs (NM)

53

8.04

$89,165

9.6%

$4,725,732

Churchill Downs (KY)

70

8.23

$567,787

9.3%

$39,745,062

Laurel Park (MD)

156

7.77

$342,471

8.9%

$53,425,438

Golden Gate Fields (CA)

150

6.93

$152,590

7.9%

$22,888,444

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