Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 117

Events and Attractions

The Kentucky Derby drew a record crowd of 164,858 for Saturday's race, while all-sources wagering on the 13-race card at Churchill Downs was $165.2M, a "slight increase over last year's figures and the third-highest of all-time," according to Matt Hegarty of the DAILY RACING FORM. The attendance mark topped the previous record set in '74, "when 163,628 were on hand." The all-sources handle was up 1.5% from $162.7M in '10. All-sources wagering on just the Derby was $112M, down 0.6% compared to handle of $112.7M last year. The ontrack handle for the whole card was $23.4M, a 9% gain over ontrack handle last year of $21.5M, while ontrack betting for the Derby was up 4.2% from '10. The record attendance and increase in betting "contrasted with moribund betting figures from tracks around the country over the past three years, which have suffered stark declines" (, 5/7). Last year's Kentucky Derby drew a crowd of 155,804 (, 5/7).

A CHANGE IS NEEDED: Churchill Downs Inc. President & CEO Robert Evans prior to the Kentucky Derby was asked about the state of horse racing and he said, "The day-to-day horse racing that goes on across the country (is) pretty tough sledding. The special stuff -- Kentucky Oaks, Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, Preakness Stakes -- those kind of events are going great. So quality stuff works, the stuff that isn't high quality is struggling right now" ("Street Signs," CNBC, 5/6). In Portland, John Canzano wrote horse racing "needs an overhaul." Canzano: "It needs a mission. It needs leadership. It needs fresh marketing and a new outlook. The horses need an advocate, too." Fans need a "reason to care about horse racing for more than a few weeks out of the year," and the "premier race in the Triple Crown falls flat." Canzano: "The experience at Churchill Downs is special. Unforgettable. As good, almost, as a summer Olympics. But most of that is lost through the broadcast, cheap promotion and an industry that is desperate and catering mostly to the off-track wagering industry instead of fixing itself" (Portland OREGONIAN, 5/8).

The PGA of America on Friday announced that it has selected Bellerive Country Club of St. Louis to host both the '13 Senior PGA Championship and the '18 PGA Championship (PGA of America). In St. Louis, Dan O'Neill noted the 74th Senior PGA Championship "will take place May 21-26, 2013 at Bellerive, while the 2018 PGA at the club will be the historic 100th playing of the championship." PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka said that the organization "has been in conversations with Bellerive off and on over six years." O'Neill noted baseball "played a role in finalizing the relationship." Steranka was "most impressed with the way the city embraced and embellished" the '09 MLB All-Star Game at Busch Stadium, "turning it into a summer-long celebration and community enrichment vehicle." At the same time, "knowing how important opening day is in St. Louis, Steranka was blown away when 30 area leaders from both the private and public sectors skipped the festivities at Busch Stadium on March 31 to instead meet with Steranka at Bellerive and push the marriage" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/7).