Too many tracks, fewer bets plague U.S. horse racing | Reuters

thoroughbred horse racing is galloping toward a reckoning.

Some executives see things bottoming out. coming to the races is a social scene,” said Craig Dado, a senior vice president with Del Mar, a racetrack outside San Diego founded by crooner Bing Crosby in the late 1930s.

“The playing field has completely changed for the industry,” said Ray Paulick, who has covered horse racing for more than three decades and publishes the Paulick Report. Still, at other times its popularity has faded.

Many industry executives say subsidies like slots or government support are a must and that more bankruptcies or closures are likely among the country’s 100 or so tracks.

However, most agree the industry needs to be leaner, and some tracks are already moving that way.

“I’d probably bet the future is more likely down for the next few years than up,” said Robert Evans, chief executive of Churchill Downs Inc (CHDN.O), which owns the track where the famed Kentucky Derby is run.

“Running a racetrack is now a negative gross business,” NYRA President Charlie Hayward said.

The share of Del Mar’s female visitors has jumped 5 points to 40 percent in the last five years, while those under the age of 35 now make up almost half of the total, he said.

Add in weaker attendance, a lower number of horses being bred for the sport and a 32-percent drop last year to $660 million in the value of North American thoroughbred auction purchases, and worries abound.

The Internet offers further hope. “There are still large, new markets that we can access.”

“It’s not as if one group has any magic bullets here,” said Bennett Liebman, executive director of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School and a member of NYRA’s board.

Recognized as the sport of kings, horse racing has a long and checkered history in the United States. Some even downplay the races to get people in the door in the hopes they will gamble later.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman. made up a small portion of the $115 billion globally wagered on horse races in 2008.

Many believe that in the future, large tracks with the biggest purses and best horses will host races only on weekends, while smaller tracks supply races to televise at other facilities and drive gambling the rest of the time.

Evidence of the tough times is mounting, as large track owner Magna Entertainment filed for bankruptcy protection last year and another large operator, the New York Racing Association, warned of a shutdown earlier this year.

The industry must address a fall-off in attendance, betting totals and horse auction values if it wants to retain its position in the public’s sporting consciousness, executives and analysts said.

DETROIT With fewer fans wagering less money at too many racetracks, U.S. It has dominated public attention with horses like Man o’ War, Sea Biscuit and Secretariat, and movies and stories like “National Velvet” and “The Black Stallion” reflected that. The U.S. It’s really all about … As a result, purses awarded to horse owners have ballooned to $1 million a day from $380,000 last year.

“Not even the New York Yankees play in Yankee Stadium 100 straight days,” said Nick Nicholson, CEO of Keeneland, the largest seller of thoroughbred horses in the world and operator of a track that races only 32 days a year.

ENDANGERED TRACKS

“You really don’t see horses in our ads at all anymore. If gambling ramps up online to allow bets on cell phones and other personal devices, the potential is huge, especially overseas, said Alex Waldrop, CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Some worry about finding new ones to replace a majority base of men over the age of 50 who make up the industry’s heaviest bettors.

Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey, halved its racing days this year to 71, but attendance is up 12 percent and wagers have risen 38 percent at the track and more than doubled off track. “Less is more.”

Another concern is racing’s aging fans. The recession has exacerbated things. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

Not even the advent of racinos — tracks that include slot machines or other casino gambling — have stemmed the decline.

“This has worked incredibly well,” said Robert Kulina, the track’s vice president and general manager. “There’s too many tracks, too many race dates and not enough consumers who are interested in the product.”. thoroughbred races, slid 19 percent to $12.3 billion in 2009 from 2003, and is off another 7 percent through July.

Tracks are pushing hard to lure younger crowds, turning to music and food festivals as draws. Magna’s assets were purchased by MI Developments Inc MIMa.TO and NYRA, which operates New York tracks at Belmont, Saratoga and Aqueduct, got a $25 million loan from the state, which is moving to approve slot machines for the tracks.

It has struggled in the United States in recent years as casinos proliferated. “Horse racing is still very popular around the world,” he said. The handle, or amount wagered on U.S

Threshold Preview : Windows 10 for the Not-Very-Techies

It looks awful and Windows clearly needs to avoid a “one OS for all” policy.

As you can see left, metro-style tiles will still be size adjustable, allowing a bigger preference to programs you use the most or are more likely to need when you are inebriated and using the touch screen on your laptop or tablet.

If you already use Windows 8 or 8.1 then you will know that Microsoft prefer you to set up a Microsoft Account. There are actually great benefits to doing this such as easily accessing your Skype, e-mail and cloud storage with a single sign-on, as well as of course Microsoft also being able to selectively target you with advertising or storage add-ons.

If this is the intended feature then I can not see half of the point of it.

You can set up a user account that is completely local and I have yet to decide whether my Windows 10 administrator is going to be cut off from the online world. That means that some of this information might be slightly out of date while I catch up and see what we have here. 

Something I am wondering though, because I have not thought about it while logged onto Windows Technical Preview, is whether the computer ports will work differently. Now the reason I ask this out loud is because I have recently been using a local server stack called XAMPP and the default ports for Apache (I am digressing onto web servers for a moment) is the same as Skype. She has said she like the ideas of a tiled start menu though, so when the newer updates are ready we should hope for this to stick around.

It’s Back!The Start MenuIt’s something I hate with Windows 8 installations. It was clearly optimised for a touchscreen.

Windows StoreIf you never installed Windows 8 and live by your Android smart phone then you might not have come across the Windows Store before.

Now I think that this is a great idea and would certainly appeal to me when I am working away from the office; but there is no mention as to whether this is also going to work with Windows 10 tablets that you then connect a keyboard to using Bluetooth! . As you can see to the right, I have started up a few of these virtual desktops but I wonder if there is a bit of work to be done.

This great thing is though, this is going to make it so much easier for the likes of you and me to go out and take photographs using the tablet’s camera and then almost immediately publishing them to InfoBarrel and connecting the keyboard to do all the writing!

Now I should really bring in my good lady wife. When you log off, they are gone. Simple slider switches asking you if you want to enable “Do Not Track” as default on Internet Explorer and whether you want Bing as your default search engine were prominent. The third party solutions on Windows such as VirtuaWin already offer a vast extension of the new Microsoft “feature” and lets be honest, if you are already a virtual desktop power user then you are probably already using Ubuntu or another Linux distribution.

If you are currently using Windows 7 –

you will want to upgrade for free to Windows 10

If you are currently using Windows 8 (or 8.1) –

they are giving you a free upgrade to Windows 10.

For the new Windows 10 desktop though, our Start Menu is making somewhat of a return albeit with subtle changes and incorporating metro style tiles in the new install. 

Task View, which to be honest is similar to using good old ALT+Tab window switch, will allow you to switch through these virtual desktops. The rumor is that this preview is going to be locked down soon so not everything will be from the horses mouth (or rather my horse sized fingers) and I will also look to what everyone else is saying as well.

It is worth pointing out that there is a new build which has been released in the last few weeks. We are going to look at what is coming to a PC near you and why you should be considering your next OS upgrade.

 Even if you don’t think you will use the new features; you might as well upgrade to restart the technical support clock!

Continuum

I tried out the new store downloading a few games and I found that for the games I downloaded there was no way to play the game with your keyboard. Now that might be because I have opened up a number of virtual units, but then when I want to open a new instance of Internet Explorer the computer insists on going back to my first screens where I have an IE window open.

The first installation of the Windows Technical Preview took less than 15 minutes. This is probably an edition of Windows that you would be familiar with as Windows 7 (or 8) Pro; there are other editions available for previewing if you are more likely to be heading for use in an enterprise environment.

There is one problem though – and if they don’t change it I probably would not use Task View.

The Windows Store allows you to install many programs and apps directly from the shop window like you can for your most popular smart cell phones; and for those that are already familiar, most of the apps and games seem to be similar to those found for Windows 8.

Windows 10 is expected to be one the biggest overhauls of a Microsoft operating system since they abandoned Windows Millennium Edition. Continuum, from the demonstrations I have seen, show a Microsoft Surface tablet-hybrid and the basic idea is that when you attach the keyboard then it works like a netbook/laptop, but when you disconnect the keyboard then it will work like a tablet computer.

As you can see, there is so much going on now with the new Windows 10 previews that I have had to start writing and as I experiment with the new features then I will update this piece as I go along.

To Tie or Not To Tie?

Windows 10, codenamed Threshold, is coming though.

During the installation process there were a number of options that are clearly tailored to making it as easy for first time installers as possible. She is severely sight impaired and has to use her gadget and devices on low resolutions. Task View

Multiple Desktops

New in Windows 10 (albeit not to other operating systems) is the virtual desktop. I wonder if this quiet push to re-engaging users with Microsoft products is going to be a long term issue.

A Demonstration of ContinuumPublished by Microsoft

The Facebook app I also downloaded from the Windows Store is modified from the common mobile phone apps. That is not surprising as most of the final code is being written and only some of the apps and features were included.

If you are thinking that you will need different desktops because sometimes you use a Bluetooth keyboard with your Windows 10 tablet then fear not; Microsoft have thought of that too. I started at Evaluation Build 9841 which is the first public beta preview. The thing is though that Windows 10 is that it is increasingly tailored to be idiot proof like it’s rival Apple OS’s. Not good when you want to use the same computer and don’t want to go fiddling with ports!

You see when I go into “desktop 2″ and open something like the Windows Store then it opens in all the later desktops. I doubt the Windows Store will ever be as strict as the Apple “iFranchise” but I bet someone somewhere with Windows 10 will eventually prove themselves to be a better idiot.

Anyway….

The virtual desktops that are created are not permanent. I can keep all my games on one virtual desktop (I have an ever-increasing Steam library) while working on web development on another and my InfoBarrel tasks on a third.

This is going to be an article that I consider “living” and I will update it as often as I can so that you can make an informed choice that you want to upgrade to Windows 10.

In order to tell you about Windows 10, also known by it’s codename of Threshold, I have played with the Windows Technical Preview that has been available to download and install for some time. The Start Menu was rubbish, otherwise known as non-existent, until the 8.1 update.

InstallationIt was Quick – but don’t read too much into that

Now the most important thing to remember is that the installation process is definitely going to change

A dream come true: World’s most incredible bets

He’s got balls of steel when it comes to placing bets,” says Barry Orr, spokesman for Betfair, the world’s biggest online betting exchange.Now worth an estimated $1 billion, the 62-year-old property mogul and horse owner was a big player at this week’s Cheltenham Festival — one of the biggest betting events in the Britain. By today’s standards, it’s roughly the equivalent of placing a $46 bet and getting $4,300 back.

The Irishman could have been accused of letting his heart rule his head when he bet $75 on all five of his boss’s horses winning.

It’s become one of the fabled wins in horse racing history — and the elusive dream that lingers in the back of every punter’s mind.

The Italian rider got the record-breaking day underway with a win on the aptly named three-year-old colt, Wall Street.

Packer, who had an estimated fortune of $6.7 billion at the time of his death in 2005, was a legendary figure on the track who struggled to find individual bookmakers with enough money to take him on.

It started with a horse called Isn’t That Lucky and ended with one called A Dream Come True, for one lucky punter from Yorkshire in Britain.

In 2008, the unnamed man placed just 75 cents on eight horses winning in an accumulator bet, said the BBC.

One lucky punter, Darren Yeats, placed a £59 ($89) accumulator bet on all of Dettori’s races — despite being warned off by his wife.

This time last year, 29-year-old Conor Murphy was a stable boy — until one lucky bet at Cheltenham changed his life forever.

A Dream Come True.

“The atmosphere in the winners’ enclosure was amazing,” Nick Smith, head of public relations at Ascot, told CNN.

“We actually had champagne for him after the sixth win, and then after the seventh the whole place just erupted.”

Surprise winner Donerail pulled away at the last stretch, setting a new track record with a time of two minutes and four seconds, beating his nearest rival by half-a-length.

Described as the “Olympics of jumps racing,” more than $820 million is bet during the four-day festival, with many punters taking their lead from the almost-mythical McManus.

“McManus is a legendary figure because of how brave he is,” Ladbrokes bookmaker David Williams says. “He’s one of those faces that when he walks into a betting ring, everyone is wondering what he’s going to do.

“But you’d never believe he’s such a big, brazen better — he’s very polite, very unassuming, a real gentlemen.”

In 1996, jockey Frankie Dettori left bookmakers in tears after defying 25,000-1 odds of winning all seven races at Britain’s Ascot Festival.

But the bold gamble paid off and Yeats left the track £550,000 ($830,000) richer.

Despite the 2,000,000-1 odds, every horse won, granting the gambler a whopping $1.5 million windfall.

Murphy placed the wager online three months before the race, giving him greater odds — and greater returns — than those betting on the day.

The huge windfall helped finance his lifelong ambition of working as a trainer in Louisville, home of the prestigious Kentucky Derby, he told British newspaper The Telegraph.

Against the odds

It was a rare victory for the thoroughbred, who won just 10 of his 62 races.

If ever there was an opportunity to step back in time and place a bet, it would surely be on the Kentucky Derby’s 1913 winner Donerail.

The three-year-old colt remains the highest odds winner in the history of the race, placed at 91-1, said the Kentucky Derby Museum.

One hundred years ago, those putting $2 on Donerail would have collected $184.90 in winnings. But Murphy happily proved the skeptics wrong, scooping $1.5 million in an accumulator — a single bet which relies on all horses winning.

In the late 1980s a consortium of Sydney bookmakers joined forces to accept Packer’s awesome bets, which could be around $5 million on a single race.

But the bookmakers were rubbing their hands at Sydney’s Golden Slipper Stakes in 1987 when Packer lost around $7 million throughout the day — including $2 million on his own horse, called Christmas Tree — reported Melbourne newspaper The Age.

Dettori’s magnificent seven

Story highlightsLegendary billionaire gambler JP McManus big player at CheltenhamMore than $820m bet at four-day British horse racing festivalTop betting stories include stable boy turned millionaireLucky punter who won $1.5m on horse called A Dream Come True

For a legendary gambler who thinks nothing of betting a million dollars on one horse, Irish businessman JP McManus is by all accounts a surprisingly reserved man.

He became the first person in Britain to win £1 million ($1.5 million) in a betting shop.

Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer wasn’t known as “The Big Fella” of gambling for nothing, famously halving betting odds in a matter of minutes with his million-dollar wagers.

The biggest loser

Nicknamed the “Sundance Kid” for his bold gambling, McManus famously won $1.3 million in just one day at Cheltenham in 2006, in series of wagers with similarly daring bookmaker “Fearless” Freddie Williams.

As Cheltenham wraps up for another year on Friday, CNN’s Winning Post takes a look at five of the most incredible horse racing betting stories of all time.

Stable boy-turned-millionaire

Five years later, Ascot erected a lifesize bronze statue of the jockey at the entrance of the famous racecourse, in honor of his historic wins.

From humble beginnings as a bookmaker, McManus earned a reputation as the fearless man on the track who would take on any wager — no matter how big.

“He’s an absolute legend