03/01/2011 3:26PM

Charles Town handle jumps


Average daily all-sources handle has skyrocketed 27.9 percent at Charles Town Races in West Virginia this year, according to figures provided by the track.

Through two months of racing and 36 full cards, average daily handle at Charles Town has been $1,112,986, up from $870,016 per card last year, according to the figures. The jump has come entirely from additional handle at out-of-state locations, with average export handle jumping 29.9 percent, from $822,476 per day last year to $1,068,583 this year. Ontrack handle has declined 6.6 percent from last year, from $47,539 per day to $44,403 per day.

Charles Town, which is owned by Penn National Gaming, dropped Sunday racing this year and added night racing on Tuesday, when competition from other Thoroughbred tracks is limited. The track also began broadcasting its races live on its website for the first time this year. It has also helped that several winter racing tracks have dropped race days this year in an effort to address horse shortages, reducing the competition for simulcasting dollars.

Erich Zimny, Charles Town’s director of racing, said that the swap of the Sunday card for a Tuesday card has helped the track boost handle, but he also said that handle on the track’s races has increased on the other days of the week in which Charles Town races.

“It’s across the board,” Zimny said. “We’re just drawing a lot more attention this year.”