Midlantic handle shows October decline
by Frank Vespe
Handle in the mid-Atlantic region fell in October on the heels of a robust September, driven in large measure by the closure of Monmouth Park, whose 2016 meet ended in September.
Overall, the region’s tracks — Charles Town, Delaware Park, Laurel Park, The Meadowlands, Parx Racing, and Penn National — saw gross handle drop by over 17 percent, to $108.7 million. The average, on five fewer days, also fell, by 12.7 percent to a bit shy of $1.3 million.
Monmouth’s closure deprived the region of its leading track in terms of total and daily average handle. That track was good for over $28 in September handle, while its October replacement, The Meadowlands, accounted for just $10.7 million in October. That $17 million difference was the majority of the region’s $23 million dip in total handle.
Yet the declines were not merely limited to New Jersey. In fact, the only tracks in the region to see average daily handle rise were The Meadowlands, up 9.6 percent on average, and Charles Town Races, up less than one percent.
Meanwhile, the biggest percentage drop came at Delaware Park, which ended its 2016 meet on October 15. The track’s average handle in October fell about 17 percent, to $953,744.
Laurel Park and Parx Racing led the region in handle during October. The former, which saw its daily average fall about 2.5 percent, handled a total of $31.5 million on 14 days of live racing, good for an average of more than $2.2 million. Parx Racing’s gross handle on 19 live days was $30.5 million; its average of $1.6 million per day was off by 14 percent versus the prior month although its “Fall Festival” of extra large purses continued virtually to the end of the month.
The report covers Charles Town, Delaware Park, Laurel Park, Monmouth Park, The Meadowlands, Penn National, Parx Racing, and Timonium and is based on Equibase figures.[table id=139 /]