‘Huge potential’ seen for racing, wagering in Amarillo

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Company executives are encouraged by the early numbers that have come in at the new Saddle Brook Jockey Club near Amarillo, Texas.

The facility was opened as a temporary off-track wagering facility until the permanent racetrack, Saddle Brook Park, is completed, which is expected to be in the fall of 2014.

Magellan Gaming & Racing operates Saddle Brook for its parent company, Yellow Rose Entertainment. Corey Johnsen, president of Magellan Gaming, told the Amarillo Globe-News that the facility handled nearly $263,500 in bets during its first month of simulcasting.

Johnsen, who is also president and part-owner of Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky., told the paper, ““There is a learning curve. There are a lot of people that you have to teach about your sport, and it just takes time.”

“When you don’t have that one- or two-year simulcasting product, people walk around a live racetrack and have no idea what to do, and frankly, it’s so big it’s confusing,” Johnsen added. “I believe the ultimate potential is there to do $10 million in handle in a 12-month period,”

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  • Ben Hogan

    Educating the gamblers is a must for any new establishment.Especially in the southwest where the culture of match racing gambling has already been established for decades.In El Paso many gambling dollars dont go through the mutuels and the track just becomes a meeting place for those who still like betting amongst themselves.That dosent help the handle or purses.Of course you make it up by selling lots of beer.

  • Ben Hogan

    Educating the gamblers is a must for any new establishment.Especially in the southwest where the culture of match racing gambling has already been established for decades.In El Paso many gambling dollars dont go through the mutuels and the track just becomes a meeting place for those who still like betting amongst themselves.That dosent help the handle or purses.Of course you make it up by selling lots of beer.

  • sad okie

    Seems too good to be true. Other Texas tracks in major metropolitan areas are drying up and blowing away. Purses have hit rock bottom without casino gaming to supplement them and many horses and horsemen have gone to more lucrative places to race. The figures behind an off track wagering site and conducting a live race meet are astronomical. Horsemen would all love to see more racing opportunities but not with a $3000 bottom purse. 

    • Juleswins3

       Ain’t that the truth?! Tracks in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio are barely keeping their doors open but in Amarillo, population under 200,000, located in the middle of nowhere, there is the “potential” to do $10 million a year? Uh huh.

  • sad okie

    Seems too good to be true. Other Texas tracks in major metropolitan areas are drying up and blowing away. Purses have hit rock bottom without casino gaming to supplement them and many horses and horsemen have gone to more lucrative places to race. The figures behind an off track wagering site and conducting a live race meet are astronomical. Horsemen would all love to see more racing opportunities but not with a $3000 bottom purse. 

  • Todd

    Congratulation Corey.

    Very few people in this game get it. You do. Tremendous

  • Todd

    Congratulation Corey.

    Very few people in this game get it. You do. Tremendous

  • Federico

    Another racetrack opening?  Just what the business DOES NOT need?

  • Federico

    Another racetrack opening?  Just what the business DOES NOT need?

  • swaps55

    Even when purses are only $3,000 some horses show up to compete.  Meanwhile, some $50,000 purses and some stakes races in California draw five horse fields.  To each his own.  On the smaller tracks it feels more like a sport and less like a big bucks business.  Not that I am knocking Saratoga or Churchill Downs or the big tracks.  But excessive money has ruined racing and made it less exciting than in the old days when horses ran 15 times a year instead of seven times in a career.   

  • swaps55

    Even when purses are only $3,000 some horses show up to compete.  Meanwhile, some $50,000 purses and some stakes races in California draw five horse fields.  To each his own.  On the smaller tracks it feels more like a sport and less like a big bucks business.  Not that I am knocking Saratoga or Churchill Downs or the big tracks.  But excessive money has ruined racing and made it less exciting than in the old days when horses ran 15 times a year instead of seven times in a career.   

  • Juleswins3

     Ain’t that the truth?! Tracks in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio are barely keeping their doors open but in Amarillo, population under 200,000, located in the middle of nowhere, there is the “potential” to do $10 million a year? Uh huh.

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