A flat February for Midlantic handle
by Frank Vespe
Total wagering handle in the mid-Atlantic was essentially flat in February versus January. Three of the region’s four tracks averaged at least $1 million in daily handle, with the fourth Penn National, just shy at about $970,000.
On 54 completed days of live racing — one more than was conducted in January — the region’s tracks recorded total handle on their live product of $76.4 million. That was up just more than one percent from January, but the region’s daily average was down less than one percent to $1.415 million.
For the fourth consecutive month, only four tracks in the region were in operation: Charles Town Races, Laurel Park, Parx Racing, and Penn National.
Three of those tracks saw their daily average handle rise. Parx led the region with a nine percent increase in daily average handle, to $1.75 million.
Laurel Park led the region with a daily average of $2.17 million. That was up over six percent from January, fueled in large measure by its banner business on February 18. That day — which saw the running of the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie and Grade 3 General George highlighting six stakes — the track did over $4.9 million in handle.
Penn National saw its run of three consecutive up months snapped. Daily handle there declined 11 percent, to about $970,000, the only track in the region to see a decline in average betting. Despite the dip, however, that number still marked the track’s third highest number in the last eight months.
Charles Town saw a modest, 2.2 percent increase in daily wagering to $1.04 million. It was the third consecutive month with average handle over $1 million at the track, and it represented the track’s best daily average figure in the last eight months.
The report covers Charles Town, Laurel Park, Penn National, and Parx Racing, as well as other tracks, including those in Delaware and New Jersey not currently holding live racing, and is based on Equibase figures. Only completed race days are included in the handle statistics.