Racing commission sets 2021 budgets
The Standardbred Breed Advisory Board of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission met virtually Friday to set the racing budgets for 2021.
The IHRC racing budget revenue comes from casino gaming at the racetracks in Shelbyville and Anderson, where a certain percentage of total profits are earmarked to support Indiana Thoroughbred, Standardbred and Quarter Horse racing and the industry which supports them. In addition to this revenue, race track purse accounts receive funding from wagering on the racing, entry fees and stakes payments from the owners.
Now that the budgets have been set, specific dates and schedules for harness racing at Hoosier Park and at 10 county fairgrounds sites throughout Indiana, including Corydon, can be made official. Those dates are expected to be determined this week and made public on the IHRC website.
The board is planning a budget and racing schedule much like what was planned for 2020. However, the 2020 budget and racing schedule had to be curtailed with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and both Hoosier Park and county fairgrounds events were shortened or eliminated.
Once the casinos and the race tracks resumed activity in June 2020, revenue shortfalls were a determining factor in guiding the eventual racing that took place. Pandemic restrictions could also affect 2021.
The total harness racing budget for 2021 is $12.3 million. Of this total, $7.9 million is budgeted for the Indiana Sire Stakes programs raced all summer at Hoosier Park. In each of the eight racing divisions by age, sex and gait, the ISS program concludes in October with a “Super Final” championship race with a purse of $250,000.
Other stakes races and late closers at Hoosier Park during the season will receive purse support of $2.25 million.
The Hoosier Park purse account, from wagering, supports the hundreds of other races on the daily race cards all summer.
The Indiana Sired Fair Circuit racing programs at county fairgrounds will be budgeted at $1.4 million. A bit less than half that amount was actually available and spent last year with the curtailed racing season.
Other ISFC racing at the state fair and at the Elkhart County Fair are budgeted at $86,000.
Finally, the “Breeders Awards” programs, which offer bonus payments to the breeders of the ISS winning horses, was set at $700,000.
Several local horses, and horses which often train at the Harrison County Fairgrounds track in Corydon, are expected to compete this summer, both at the county fairs and at Hoosier Park.