Laurel Park winter meet saw strong wagering gains

by | May 8, 2017 | Breaking, Business, Maryland, MD Business

Ice sculpture

2017 winter carnival ice sculpture. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

From a Maryland Jockey Club release

The Maryland Jockey Club announced today that total handle, in-state handle, average daily handle and export handle during Laurel Park’s winter meet were all up strongly over the previous year as racing continues to be rejuvenated in Maryland.

Total wagering for Laurel’s 56-day meet was $184.7 million, up 22.2 percent from 2016 when total handle was $151.1 million for 52 days. In-state wagering was up 23.1 percent and export was up 22.3 percent.

Average daily handle jumped to $2.729 million from $2.372 million in 2016. That represented a roughly 15 percent increase over 2016.

“We’re pleased with the success of our winter meet,” said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. “We increased our field size and improved our quality with the support of horsemen throughout the East Coast. The decision to run the General George on the same day as the Barbara Fritchie also created a Super Saturday atmosphere and a total handle of $4.9 million.

“We want to continue growing Maryland racing. We continue to renovate our facility and barn area, expand our off-track betting network, and build relationships with our casino partners. Horsemen and fans continue to show an increased interest in Maryland racing. We still believe there’s a lot more room for improvement. We’re off to a great start this May and we’re looking forward to the opening of Pimlico Thursday and Preakness Weekend May 19-20. We will continue showcasing our product and attracting new fans to our great equine and human athletes as well as our great facilities.”

Highlights of the meet included:

  • The Winter Carnival in February, featuring High Ridge Road’s victory in the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie (G2) and Imperial Hint winning the $250,000 General George (G2). With the Fritchie and General George run on the same day, Laurel’s total handle was $4.9 million.
  • On Federico Tesio Day April 22, highlighted by “Win & You’re In” races the Weber City Miss and the Tesio, total handle was $3.9 million, up 59 percent from the previous year.
  • Laurel Park’s 11-race program on Saturday, May 6 – Kentucky Derby Day – was a huge success with total handle of $5.2 million, up 38 percent from last year’s handle of $3.5 million.