07/23/2010 2:25PM

Colonial handle rebounds


All-sources average handle for Colonial Downs during the track’s recently concluded 40-day meet rose 13.2 percent over last year’s totals, when the track’s signal was blacked out on a number of large account-wagering operations.

Racing Saturday through Wednesday, with twilight cards on weekdays, the average daily all-sources handle rose to $860,765 a day, up from $760,860 last year. A dispute between Colonial and two large account-wagering operations, Twinspires.com and XpressBet, had dampened wagering figures during last year’s 45-day meet, contributing to a 30 percent drop in average betting during 2009’s meet compared to 2008. The Colonial signal was available through the account-wagering companies’ operations this year.

The surge in out-of-state wagering was enough to offset depressed on-track figures. Average on-track handle plunged 16.4 percent, to $107,086 this year from $128,141 last year.

Field size also dropped this year during the meet, to 7.73 horses per race, from 8.89 horses last year. Colonial held 89 percent of its races on the turf this year, or 342 of the 381 races carded during the meet, up from 72 percent last year.