01/27/2015 9:55AM

Giwner: Pompano Park making a comeback

Derick Giwner
Pompano Park is in its 51st year of racing.

While it is far from the “Winter Capital of Harness Racing” moniker it held in its heyday, Pompano Park is making clear strides during its 2014-15 season. This is America and everyone loves a good comeback. But in the case of Pompano, if you want something done right, you need a Canadian at the helm.

Brett Revington took over the reins at Isle Casino and Racing at Pompano Park as Director of Racing in August after stints at Red Shores, Western Fair and Woodbine Entertainment Group in Canada. The 41-year-old was very pleased with recent progress and placed much of the credit with his team as a whole.

“There really is a sense of pride among the team,” said Revington. “Everyone has bought in to what we are doing here.”

The accomplishments are many. Through the end of December handle was up 34.4% according to a track press release. A quick check at a couple of random dates also showed healthy gains.

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On Sunday January 25, the track handled $403,570 for its 9-race card ($44,841 average per race). On the same Sunday in 2014 the average total was $388,696 for 10 races ($38,870 average). On Tuesday January 20 Pompano averaged $49,992 per race, a $14,653 per race increase over the same Tuesday a year ago.

Revington cited a myriad of changes that have assisted in the overall success. Those included revamping the wagering format to include superfectas in practically every race and increasing the minimums on the bet to 20 cents to allow Canadian residents to play the wager. He also brought back instant guarantees which allow the track to set a guaranteed pool whenever a pick four or pick five wager goes uncovered.

An additional handle increaser has been the track’s appearance on the TVG Network on Mondays, Tuesdays and Sundays. Plus more attention to detail when it comes to post time has been key.

“[Brett] lets me set post times/manage drag, and that is also something that we are paying more attention to this season,” said Announcer/Publicity Director Gabe Prewitt.

“We definitely don’t want to go head-to-head with the big boys,” said Revington. “We try to get two to three minutes of our own time before we go to post.”

Revington also estimates that the Pompano signal is now available in 35-40 new simulcast locations including Quebec, Sam Houston, Remington, and they are even sending three races on Saturdays to California, which has a very limited simulcast market.

While the increases in handle have been garnered via off-track wagering, Revington cited recent changes at home which he hopes will improve the bottom line at the Pompano Beach, Florida location.

“We are trying to improve the customer experience and hope to have a new video board in place in the near future,” said Revington, who also mentioned a new winner’s circle, outdoor bar area and tellers on the track apron as improvements for on-track customers.

The bottom line is that Pompano Park is raising its game. The track has been averaging about $45,000 per race in recent weeks and that number places it firmly in the middle of the pack in the harness world. If current trends are any indication, the Sunshine State track could have an even brighter future.

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