06/12/2014 1:47PM

Arlington cuts purses in response to handle decline

Email

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Arlington Park instituted an across-the-board purse cut beginning last weekend due to a sharp year-to-year drop in all-sources handle.

Purses here were cut from $2,500 at the top end of the purse scale to $500 at the bottom end.

“We hope that this is temporary,” said Arlington general manager Tony Petrillo.

All-sources average daily handle at Arlington declined sharply in May. During the first 16 days of the meet, May 2-26 (the most recent numbers available from the Illinois Racing Board; Arlington, per Churchill Downs Inc. policy, doesn’t publicize business figures), average daily all-sources handled fell 24.4 percent compared with the same period last year, from $2,981,056 to $2,253,241.

The bulk of the decline came from out-of-state bets placed on Arlington races. That type of betting dropped 27 percent, from $2,368,134 per day during the same period in 2013 to $1,738,881 this year.

“The way the season started really took us by surprise,” Petrillo said.

Petrillo attributed the handle decline to short fields at Arlington. So far this meet, from May 2 through June 8, Arlington has averaged 7.5 starters per race, down from 8.1 during the same period in 2013. Starters per turf race has dropped from 9.08 early in the 2013 meet to 8.38 in grass races this year. Additionally, a late spring forced Arlington to commence grass racing several days after the meet began, and there have been only 58 grass races this season, compared with 80 during the same period last year.

Attendance and ontrack handle have been the bright spots this season.

“We hope that ontrack will pick up the slack and that things will have improved by July,” said Petrillo.

Brian Cornell More than 1 year ago
Perhaps bettors are avoiding poly tracks
matt More than 1 year ago
Many of the Illinois breds that used run when the track was dirt are running elsewhere. Back in the eighties you had ten or twelve in each race.
Dan Horton More than 1 year ago
I grew up going to Arlington and would happily add to their handle, but I use XB so they won't take my money
russell More than 1 year ago
The kitty litter tracks are done. Del Mar and Keeneland said bye-bye. Whats Arlington waiting for? They have 1 card all year worth betting. And its on the grass. It could become Washington Park in 10 years
Jay More than 1 year ago
I'm not surprised. The fields have been terrible. Also, I would see that they would not even be one of the tracks in the PP book or up on one of the screens at my local OTB, even when they had a stakes card. I used to like betting the turf races there.
Dave Oster More than 1 year ago
in 10 years they will realize the horses got carpet fibers injested from the poly garbage,,when they all have equine cancer.................poly has ruined racing,,,,,the decline in handle will continue
erika More than 1 year ago
What about the jockeys?
Pat More than 1 year ago
Why in the world would I bet Arlington Park? Have never bet plastic and never will. The turf racing there is terrible, so I keep coming back to my basic question for the people at CDI to answer, to wit: "Why would I bet ANY race at Arlington Park?" and, while, you're at it, try to come up with a reason for me to bet ANY race at Churchill with its obscene take out. I'll wait for the answers. Most racing fans are waiting for the answers to those two very basic questions. We're listening.
Dave Oster More than 1 year ago
cant bet turf at ap when they consistently run 25 ,,,51,52 opening quarters and halves,that,s not racing...it,s a controlled workout until the far turn..........the poly is absolute garbage................
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
I'm one of the boycotters. I won't bet CD again unless it's a Breeder's Cup Day or KY Derby Day. I'll only bet AP on Millions day. I recently brought 30 people to the track. The customer service was atrocious after a huge thunderstorm occurred mid-card. The management of CDI is just awful and unfortunately the reporting in this article is just as bad.
Mike More than 1 year ago
unfortunately you just like to whine and complain
Dave Oster More than 1 year ago
WHY THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AFTER THE 3RD RACE,,,REAL POOR DECISION
Dave Oster More than 1 year ago
I CANT EVEN CONSIDER GOING TO LIVE RACES AT AP,,,WHO WANTS TO STAND THERE LISTENING TO THESE IDIOTS PUT ON THE PADDOCK SHOW,,,,THERE JUST AS ANOYING AND CALL EVERYTHING THE ARLINGTON WAY AND THEY ARE JUST AS MISLEAD AS GENO FROM TVG
Mike Reinhardt More than 1 year ago
You know caps lock doesn't have to be on when you type, right? I can't even read what you typed because it is so obnoxious to type in all caps.