05/11/2016 12:56PM

Daily handle up sharply at Laurel meet


Average daily handle at the Laurel Park meet, which ended Sunday, was $2.37 million, an increase of 34.5 percent from the 2015 average of $1.76 million, according to figures released by the Maryland Jockey Club, which operates the track.

Total handle for the meet, in-state betting, and out-of-state betting also were up, although comparisons are difficult because of a difference in the schedule from last year. Laurel raced on a Friday-through-Sunday schedule this year, and the season ran through May 8. Last year’s Laurel meet concluded at the end of March. Laurel also took a three-week break this year from mid-February to early March.

Total handle at the meet was $151 million, a 9 percent gain. In-state betting totaled $46.7 million, up 25 percent, and handle on the exported simulcast signal climbed 12 percent, according to the Maryland Jockey Club figures.

“We continue to see growth in the Maryland Thoroughbred industry both locally and nationally,” said Sal Sinatra, president of the Maryland Jockey Club. “Racing is being revitalized with better-quality racing, more participation from horsemen around the country, and our growing offtrack betting network.”