From a Maryland Jockey Club release

The Maryland Jockey Club concluded its spring meeting at Pimlico Race Course last weekend with the total handle up slightly over 2013.  With 68 days of live and simulcast action this year versus 69 in 2013, total wagering — including live, import, and export — reached $181 million.  That was $1.2 million more (0.7 percent) than last year.  Easter fell during the spring stand this year.

“We had a strong finish with our numbers up 14 times during the last 16 days of the meet,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. “Despite running one fewer day, we had more total runners this year so the racing department deserves a great deal of credit.”

The 2014 meet featured 2,689 runners in 344 races (7.82 average), while last year’s spring stand included 2,683 starters in 359 races (7.47 average).

Live handle — money wagered on Pimlico racing by fans at the track — and import handle (money wagered on other tracks by bettors at Pimlico) both fell, with the latter off 12 percent on a daily average basis.  The average daily live handle fell 2.6 percent, to a shade over $350,000.

However, those declines were more than offset by growth in the export handle (money wagered by bettors out-of-state on Pimlico’s live racing).  That number grew nearly 4 percent overall, with the daily average rising 6.7 percent to nearly $4.2 million

Preakness weekend was a major success as nearly 160,000 fans attended the Black-Eyed Susan (34,736) and Preakness day (123,469) cards at Old Hilltop. During the two days, there were 26 high-quality races, including the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1), and performances by eleven musical acts in the famed infield.

“We would have shattered the Black-Eyed Susan Day attendance and handle records set a year ago if not for the two inches of rain that hit Baltimore that morning which caused six races to come off the turf and discouraged attendance,” added Chuckas. “But I am still proud of what we have done to improve the Preakness weekend and will continue to find ways to sustain the momentum through the end of the meet and beyond.”

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