coronavirus pandemic

Racing Economic Indicators: U.S. Wagering Down Marginally in November

Despite the rise in the COVID-19 infection rate in many states around the country, wagering on U.S. races managed to remain relatively stable, with only a slight dip from 2019 figures. A total of $895,325,220 was wagered last month, down 6.33% from November of 2019. Year-to-date figures decreased only 1.48% from $10,326,096,182 bet in 2019. Both figures include worldwide commingled wagering on U.S. races. In November, average wagering per race day jumped by 35.49% up to $3,996,998, while the year-to-date figure showed a similar pattern, rising by 33.78% to $3,310,512....

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NYRA Announces Purse Increases Starting Oct. 18

With impressive gains in handle and with the reopening of the casino at Aqueduct, NYRA will increase purses starting Oct. 18 and for the remainder of the Belmont meet. Like many tracks, NYRA was forced to make purse cuts due to COVID-19 related problems that reduced revenue sources. Rather than an across-the-board purse increase, NYRA will put more money into certain categories, in particular maiden races. The purse for an open maiden special weight race will go from $63,000 to $80,000. New York-bred maidens will see a purse increase from...

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Pandemic Affects Visas, Limiting H-2B Workers

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- George Weaver feels it. So do Chad Brown, Todd Pletcher and Shug McGaughey. Among the many new issues that Thoroughbred trainers across the country must contend with during the 2020 pandemic is a shortage of skilled staff. In recent years, it has become more difficult for horsemen to secure all the H-2B visas that they desire to legally bring foreign nationals into the country as guest workers. The arrival of COVID-19 in late winter closed U.S. consulates, compounding the problems, preventing visa holders from getting their...

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Belmont Stakes Kicks Off Upside Down 2020 Triple Crown

ELMONT, NY -- Shortened to 1 1/8 miles and to be contested free of spectators, the 152nd renewal of the GI Belmont S. kicks off a reshuffled Triple Crown Saturday. The winner will have to wait until the first Saturday in September for the GI Kentucky Derby, however, to continue a bid for what would have to go down as the most unique of sweeps if able to join the legendary previous 13 to do so. The series concludes with the GI Preakness S. at Pimlico Oct. 3. Welcome to...

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Belmont Stakes Q&A with John Imbriale

ELMONT, NY - After winning a contest in the New York Daily News back in 1979, John Imbriale got his first taste of the announcer's booth and press office at the New York Racing Association, and has been part of the fabric at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga ever since. A jack of all trades, Imbriale served as a backup to the legendary racecaller Tom Durkin beginning in 1990 and has held several behind-the-scenes roles with NYRA TV throughout the years as well. Appointed to the position of head announcer in...

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Taking Stock: The Art of the Mating

Responding to the global coronavirus pandemic, people and organizations within this industry from around the world have stepped up to generate goodwill gestures every week it seems, whether it's owner-breeder Chuck Fipke offering no-fee breedings to his stallions, Finger Lakes HBPA and track management distributing $827,000 in the form of "stimulus checks" to local trainers and owners, or an Irish lawyer galvanizing interest in more than 350 housebound fans and industry participants in "The Art of the Mating," a hypothetical exercise in stallion selection for some famous mares. Jack Cantillon...

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