Colonial Downs more than doubled its handle this past weekend versus the prior weekend, and three of the region’s five other currently operating tracks enjoyed double digit percentage gains. But a slow July 13-14 at Monmouth Park trumped the positive news, and handle regionwide declined by more than 18 percent this weekend versus last, according to our HandleTrak report.
Charles Town, Colonial, Delaware, Monmouth, Parx, and Penn National handled a combined total of more than $14.6 million on their live product. That was well off last week’s pace of nearly $18 million in handle and in fact was the lowest regionwide amount since The Racing Biz began compiling this data in early June. The tracks’ nine racing cards averaged more than $1.6 million in betting.
Colonial, racing just one of the two days, nevertheless more than doubled its handle from July 6-7. Bettors put more than $1.9 million through the windows in support of the track’s signature racing day on Saturday, when it presented both the G2 Virginia Derby and G3 Virginia Oaks.
In addition to Colonial, Charles Town, Delaware and Parx all enjoyed double-digit wagering increases. Delaware, with the G2 Delaware Oaks and G3 Robert Dick Memorial on Saturday, saw handle increase by nearly 20 percent over the prior weekend.
Yet bad weather affected racing in the region, even at those tracks that did well. Saturday rain took racing off the turf at Delaware, Monmouth, and Parx, with the blow especially keen at Delaware; off the turf, the Dick Memorial turned from a race with an interesting and full field to one with a short field and an odds-on favorite.
Monmouth also was plagued by short fields throughout the weekend, partially a result of the weather and partially because of a relative paucity of entries. Monmouth’s decline — to about $7 million in weekend handle, down from more than $12 million — also was likely the result of a less attractive racing product; during the July 6-7 weekend, the track hosted a Grade 1 event, the United Nations, and other compelling races, while this weekend’s lone stake was the ungraded Klassy Briefcase.
(Featured image by Vas.)