08/06/2014 1:58PM

Del Mar handle, attendance decline


DEL MAR, Calif. – Attendance and handle figures were lower after the third weekend of the Del Mar summer meeting when compared to the same period in 2013, according to data released by the track.

Through Sunday, the 14th day of the 36-day meeting, average ontrack attendance was down 5.3 percent, from 19,542 in 2013 to 18,513 this year.

The average ontrack handle of $2,308,311 was down 11.9 percent from the 2014 figure of $2,620,321 during the same time period. The average all-sources average handle, including simulcasting and account-wagering sources, was $12,422,653, a decline of 6.6 percent from an average of $13,299,344 last year.

Field size has averaged 9 runners per race compared to 8.55 runners per race during the same time period last year.

This year, the track opened on a Thursday, one day later than most recent years. To compare the two seasons, track officials eliminated attendance and handle figures from the second day of the 2013 meeting, a Thursday. The 2013 meeting covered 37 days of racing.

There are several reasons for the decline. Rare summer rainstorms fell on July 27 and last Saturday, which were certain to have affected ontrack business. In addition, there have been two interruptions to turf racing because of concern about the condition of the course.

Turf races draw fields of higher-class horses that frequently attract strong wagering pools. No turf racing was held July 27. Turf racing was canceled last weekend, from Friday through Sunday, and no turf racing was scheduled from Wednesday through Friday this week, after a horse was seriously injured July 31. Turf racing will resume Saturday.

Michael Lowrey More than 1 year ago
Horse racing has been in a secular decline. Casinos may have peaked and have now started their secular decline. Nothing lasts forever, and if I owned a race track, I would either sell the land or re-develop it into a more profitable enterprise . It's the right business move.
will More than 1 year ago
Look at all the cry baby comments...geez... Del mar isn't that bad.. not at all... if it is, what are you comparing it too? Apparently they haven't been to many race tracks
P More than 1 year ago
I agree with what everyone has said..I play the Del Mar $10 contest and after each day I look at a LONG SHOT winner and in the contest 3 or 4 players had the horse....from barns that no one has heard from and somehow they knew these Long Shot would run well... it's crazy..I can see picking a 50-1 shot in the last race because you see what you have to beat but with only able to make one bet a day in the tournament and win with a 37-1 shot in the 3rd race is not real, something is UP....
John More than 1 year ago
Any track that is under the CHRB is going to slopwly fade into oblivion ! The latest smack in the face of bettors, and really unfortunatly for new players is the doing away with the scratch explanation page, concerning Pick 3' Pick 4' Pick 5 & Pick 6's. To most of us, we have a handle on early and late scratch's, refund or favorite ! To the new player, that page is a musty, but the CHRB has deleted it from most California tracks now. I took 4 NEW PLAYERS to Del Mar on Sunday, they pooled their money, played Pick 3's & Pick 4's. Well, not knowing they had a EARLY SCRATCH on each ticket, thinking they lost, tossed a $30 & a $24 refund ! I wrote to Del Mar, pretty much a "WHO CARES
kevin stout More than 1 year ago
Really? you took 4 new people and they pooled their money and bet Pick 3s and 4s without knowing anything about horse racing? and these new people were so organized and prompt that they bet before the early scratches were in the totes? And then, when there were scratches on EACH of their tickets, not one of them thought to ask you, the experienced friend who brought them, what the rules are regarding scratches? So they just threw the tickets away BUT decided to tell you about it after the fact? Right. I normally don't respond to fake posts but I am sometimes curious if there is an actual point other than fishing for responses.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Hahaha, good post
Bob More than 1 year ago
Considering that the majority of the races run at Del Mar so far this season have been formless disasters from a handicapping standpoint I can see why the handle and attendance are down. The DM meet has always been tough to handicap, with small, obscure barns entering horses that haven't been within ten lengths of the winners for a year or more and then they suddenly jump up and run like Secretariat...but this year has been beyond the pale! Any horse player who has bankroll preservation in mind has in all likelihood backed off of the turf racing altogether and many, like myself, haven't been playing the main track races since it became evident that the polytrack was such a disaster.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Del Mar is a fair-like circuit track that hides behind the veneer of its opening day activities. After opening day, the grind is on. The Breeders Cup Committee members must have been half asleep the day they made the decision to hand them the Cup for 2017. The limited parking lots, the plant, the backdrop (the fence with the green tarps and the old buildings in the stable area), and both the poly and turf loops are not up to scale. We all know the "big" tracks have some problems, but the Cup needs to be assigned to those tracks. Del Mar is not one of the big tracks even though the powers that be would like to think so.
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
There is only ONE thing awesome about California racing.... California Chrome. I really hope he makes the trip for the Pennsylvania Derby.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
Hope CC owners stay away from Del Mar. Wouldn't like to see him get injured there. The breakdowns are not just on turf but also on poly.
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
And it should continue in that direction. The track is ABYSMAL. You cannot handicap this racing. The turf is death because it is anything but grass. Watch T VEE G and you'd think it was the best racing planet Earth has to offer. I have noticed something. Both Keeneland and DelMar's meets come with much fanfare and dress and glitz and glamour and coverage and talk etc, etc, etc. Why? They both need people to look beyond the awful racing that they sell.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Long Live Santa Anita, RIP Hollywood Park the real best track on the West Coast. Del Mar cool place to hang out but racing was never better then those two tracks.
Greg More than 1 year ago
Won't bet a dime on the track . Maybe pacific Classic day.
Juan DE La Cruz More than 1 year ago
Seldom bet on this track ever since. Hard to handicap. I bet sometimes on the jockeys not the horses. Probably too I'll go durinc Pacific Classic. They don't allow the public to win in PK 6 and will always "shoot down" the favorites.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
I don't bet there either. This year it seems that not even the track handicappers can pick winners. I just won a nice little nest egg at Finger Lakes. Nice track. I seem to be lucky there. Small track and it is easy to know the hot trainers, jocks and horses. Just had to watch and bet.
Richard Cadena More than 1 year ago
The industry should pool resources and buy back the best racetrack in Southern California and one of the greatest in this country: Hollywood Park Race Track. It may not be in the most affluent area but it has an incomparable racing history. Its synthetic track is one of the safest. As soon as Del Mar was designated host city for a future Breeder's Cup, they most likely let go their main track, since in order to be host city Del Mar had to commit to tearing out the synthetic track and put in a dirt track. It appears they need to reassess their longer term goals, including making safer the turf course and maybe keeping the synthetic track.
Vickie Aument More than 1 year ago
You are SPOT ON! The synth at Hollywood was safe - fair - and comparable to dirt - one of the rare synth tracks to accomplish that - the turf (when maintained was also fair - safe- and hosted international competitors - a travesty Hollywood was closed - a travesty in the making is Del MAR
Maureen Peatross More than 1 year ago
I disagree in keeping the poly track. It is know for damaging the rear ends of 2 yr olds more than you know. Last year and this year a 2 yr old I invested in had that problem along with others I know about. They are not known to the public because of no breakdown issues on the track. The injuries are found later and some are unusual compared to other type of injuries. This surface needs to go. Many horses don't like it and don't do as well as they could on other tracks.
Richard Cadena More than 1 year ago
If the poly track doesn't work then maybe they can replace it with the cushion synthetic used at Hollywood Park Race Track. H.P. main track has been generally viewed as among the safest, certainly safer than the dirt tracks. Going to dirt does nothing to improve the safety of the horse/jockey. Del Mar and surprisingly Keeneland went the way of the herd mentality. They also will convert to dirt in order to be host site for the Breeders Cup races.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
I totally agree. Wish I had the money I would buy it. Obviously, though they wanted the property for a casino, or to enlarge the casino. It is a shame that they, Bet Fair, let it go down hill.
Richard Cadena More than 1 year ago
The land developers that bought the property from Churchill Downs wanted Hollywood Park Race Track torn down so that they can build more malls, condos, and the like. The casino, which occupies a small piece of the land, is there mainly for people that play cards and bingo, etc.