With big fields, rising handle, and a growing array of wagers, Atlantic City Race Course ranked highest among mid-Atlantic tracks in the latest Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) track ratings (here).
The track, which runs a six-day, all-turf “festival” meet, rose from 23rd position among 64 tracks a year ago to be 14th in the latest rankings, which came out April 2.
The rankings aim, according to the organization, to measure how attractive wagering at different tracks is. Among the factors the organization considers are the takeout on different bets, the variety of available wagers, the size of fields, the availability of the track’s signal, and the size of mutuel pools. Thus, Keeneland, with relatively low takeout, big fields, a full menu of wagers, and enormous betting pools scored highest of all tracks.
Indeed, four of the top five are major tracks with very large handle. In addition to Keeneland, they include Saratoga, Del Mar, and Churchill Downs. The only track among the top five not generally considered a major track is Kentucky Downs. That track, which is located in Franklin, KY, and hosts a five-day turf meet each year, scored well because of very low takeout — no wager has a takeout above 19 percent, according to HANA — and large field size (nearly 10 horses per race).
Colonial Downs was the second-highest ranked track in the mid-Atlantic and 16th overall, just behind Atlantic City. Its field size — 8.83 starters per race — was among its biggest selling points, according to the ratings.
Penn National and Parx Racing were the two lowest-ranked tracks in the region. Both suffered from relatively poor takeout scores — each has a takeout of at least 30 percent on trifectas and superfectas — and middling field sizes. Nationally, they were ranked 49th and 55th, respectively.
HANA TRACK RANKINGS*
- 14. Atlantic City Race Course
- 16. Colonial Downs
- 26. Monmouth Park
- 29. Charles Town Races
- 34. Presque Isle Downs
- 40. Delaware Park
- 42. Laurel Park
- 43. Pimlico
- 49. Penn National
- 55. Parx Racing
* Mid-Atlantic tracks only.