05/27/2016 1:30PM

Despite more racing, handle down in California


ARCADIA, Calif. – Despite eight more racing cards, handle at California racetracks declined 1.56 percent through the first four months of the year compared to the same point last year, according to statistics announced at Thursday’s California Horse Racing Board meeting.

Those figures included betting at Thoroughbred meetings at Golden Gate Fields, Los Alamitos and Santa Anita, a night harness meeting at Sacramento, and the night Quarter Horse and lower-level Thoroughbred meeting at Los Alamitos.

Those tracks combined to produce handle of $978.3 million through April, compared to $994.4 million in the same period in 2015.

Handle at the daytime Thoroughbred meetings was down 2 percent compared to 2015, from $887 million to $868.7 million this year. Handle at the two night meetings showed an increase of 2.6 percent for the year, from $107.3 million in 2015 to $110.1 million this year.

There were five more day programs and three more night programs this year.

In April, combined handle for Thoroughbred meetings was down 6.9 percent, from $216.2 million last year to $201.2 million this year. Racing board executive director Rick Baedeker said that was caused by a change in the schedule. Los Alamitos operated a three-week Thoroughbred meeting in April and handled less than Santa Anita did in the corresponding period in 2015. Santa Anita will race during the first two weekends of July, when Los Alamitos held Thoroughbred meetings in 2014 and 2015.

For April, handle at all tracks fell 4.3 percent, from $242.1 million in 2015 to $231.5 million this year.

Chas More than 1 year ago
Tough to increase the handle when you have small fields like at Los Al and even at SA...plus even tougher to get people to bet when they just paid $50, $65, $85 per person to attend the races at SA because Brackpool is 'selling' a high end social experience day the track to the social image driven fools....
Vince Piscitelli More than 1 year ago
We need a Triple Crown winner to increase handle and racing awareness.

Vince P
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sometimes less is more. watering down the quality of racing for the sake of more races is detrimental to racing as a whole. better quality races and less racing days = better bottom line.
Alex Silverman More than 1 year ago
Turf track way too slow especially the downhill course.  California tracks used to be much faster.  I do not like slow races.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
helps keep the horses sounder.sorry
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
It's going to keep going down with these awful cards. There is no value to be had.The well is dry. It's everywhere. You have tracks like CD and PIM chopping up races to get a mandatory pick 6 its destroying racing. Pim use to run 14 over turf now they get 16 with AE and run 9. May be good for them because they chop but not players. Tri/uper player pools are going to go way down. Santa Anita has been very bland.