Midlantic handle rises in July
by Frank Vespe
Despite running four fewer completed days than a year ago, mid-Atlantic tracks saw total wagering on the region’s racing product rise by more than $5 million, to just shy of $157 million for the month of July.
That compared favorably with the $151.6 million of July 2016 and also led to an eight percent increase in the region’s daily average handle. Over the course of 90 days of live racing, the six operating mid-Atlantic tracks handled an average of over $1.7 million per day, up from $1.6 million last year.
Six tracks — Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Delaware Park, Laurel Park, Monmouth Park, Parx Racing, and Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course — were in operation during July.
Four of them saw their gross and daily average handle rise, led by Charles Town, which saw its daily average top $1 million, up 28 percent from the $781,000 daily average it saw in the same month a year ago. The track’s total handle, on one less day, rose from $10.9 million to $12.3 million.
Delaware Park also enjoyed strong gains, with its July 15 Delaware Handicap card, featuring the great Songbird, topping $4.3 million in handle. For the month, Delaware’s average grew about six percent, to just shy of $1.4 million. Its gross, on three extra days, was up 27 percent, to about $25.1 million.
Laurel Park and Parx Racing also enjoyed good months in July. The former’s daily average grew 17 percent versus last year, topping $2.2 million, and it handled $31.6 million in July. The latter, on a three-day-per-week schedule versus last year’s four, saw its daily average jump by one-third to over $1.7 million.
The region’s largest-handling track, Monmouth Park, presented a less rosy picture even though its signature day, the July 30 running of the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, saw handle rise seven percent, to $12.8 million. For the month, Monmouth’s daily average handle fell about 3.5 percent, to $3.66 million per day — still easily the highest in the region. Its total handle for the month on one fewer completed day was off about 10 percent, to $51.2 million.
Penn National also saw declines, with the daily average falling 4.5 percent to $692,000 per day. The track handled $11.7 million during 17 days of live racing.
The report covers the tracks discussed here, as well as Pimlico, Timonium, and the Meadowlands Thoroughbred meet, and is based on Equibase figures. Only completed race days are included in the handle statistics.