FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2012
Contact: Andy Belfiore
NYTHA Director of Communications
NEW YORK HORSE RACING THRIVING,
FUELED BY SMART STATE INVESTMENT
Senator Addabbo Hails VLT Revenue for Boosting Important Industry
America’s economy is still struggling to recover from the global financial crisis, but New York’s Thoroughbred industry is bucking the trend thanks in large part to smart investments by the State Legislature, industry leaders said Monday.
Bolstered by solid gains at the 2012 Saratoga race meet, wagering across the country was up 11.6% for the month of August. It is no coincidence that the increase in handle nationally mirrored the 11.8% rise in all-sources handle at Saratoga this summer. Record-level purses fueled by VLT revenue resulted in the stellar competition at Saratoga that attracted vigorous wagering, and have spurred growth both on the track and off.
"People are investing in New York racing again," said trainer Rick Violette Jr., president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. "Stables that had cut back are expanding, and owners who had gotten out of the game are back in business. Our purses have only included VLT revenue since the beginning of the year, but it has had an immediate and significant effect on our industry. More horses are coming into New York every day, to the racetracks and the breeding farms, and those horses are creating jobs at a time when employment opportunities are a high priority nation-wide."
Senator Joseph Addabbo said, "I am proud of the fact that I fought to bring a racino and more than 1,100 good jobs for the people of Queens to Aqueduct. But I am equally proud of the fact that the VLT money brought in by the racinos has been so beneficial, not only to our educational system, but also to members of New York’s Thoroughbred community. Over $237 million has been generated for education from the hugely successful racino located in my district in just under a year and considerable sums have gone from it to the racing industry as well. If we can have this much success in one year, imagine what will happen in the future. We must work to ensure that money from the VLTs continues to help bolster this vital industry."
New York-bred horses are at a premium, as evidenced at sales in New York and outside the state as well. Kentucky-breds dominate the list of top-selling horses at the ongoing Keeneland September Sale in Lexington, but Marlene Brody’s Gallagher’s Stud in Ghent, NY, cracked the top 10 Wednesday when a New York-bred yearling colt by top sire Tapit brought $450,000 from the prestigious Spendthrift Farm. Fasig-Tipton’s New York-bred yearling sale, held in Saratoga last month, saw gross sales rise 28.3% over 2011. The average price at the auction was up 15.3%, and the median rose 42.9%.
After that event, Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning said, "It’s pretty impressive to statistically look at this sale from 2010-2012 and see where it’s gone in a two-year period of time. It is truly remarkable, and indicative of the significant impact racino slots have had on the marketplace." The brand new Fall Mixed Sale, slated for Oct. 9 in upstate New York, has attracted 254 entries.
The breeding industry has also enjoyed a renaissance. New farms have opened, and farms left vacant are now thriving, thanks to investments made by established operations from Kentucky, and an influx of some 500 broodmares that came to New York to foal this year. According to preliminary reports, the 2012 foal crop in New York will be up 40% from 2011.
New York Thoroughbred Breeders President Barry R. Ostrager said, "Saratoga has always been the summer place to be, but because of what our Legislators are doing to help boost the Thoroughbred industry, this summer’s meet was an unparalleled success. Even more important, as the New York Racing Association attracts the best horses and horsemen to race at its tracks, New York-breds are in demand in the marketplace, farms are reopening across the State and new stallions are coming in. After 10 years of waiting, our breeding and racing program is finally getting a chance to live up to its potential."