In early 2017, the New York Racing Association announced that it would pay a $1 million bonus to any Japan-based horse that won this year’s $1.5 million Belmont Stakes.
Although Lani’s presence in the three Triple Crown races attracted a good deal of fan interest, particularly given that horse’s quirkiness, the NYRA bonus was about more than enticing a Japanese horse to market to racing fans.
Until recently, the Japanese wagering system didn’t permit wagering on U.S. races, but in 2015, the law changed to permit Japan to simulcast a select number of international races — if a Japanese horse was running in them. Last year, Japanese bettors were able to wager on a U.S. race for the first time when Nuovo Record ran in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (she finished 11th), and according to Bloodhorse.com, Japanese bettors wagered $7.68 million on the race, suggesting a lucrative potential market for U.S. racetracks.
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