09/22/2016 6:26PM

Handle at California tracks declines in August

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Handle figures at California tracks slumped more than 11 percent in August, with declines at Del Mar, on the Northern California fair circuit, and the Los Alamitos nighttime mixed meeting, according to figures announced at Thursday’s California Horse Racing Board meeting.

The declines left year-to-date figures through August down 3.6 percent compared with 2015 at all state racetracks.

Handle at all tracks in August reached $284.6 million, a decline of 11.5 percent. Thoroughbred racing at Del Mar, Ferndale, Golden State Fields, and the Santa Rosa County Fair handled $263.6, down 11.7 percent, while the Los Alamitos meeting of Quarter Horses and lower-level Thoroughbreds handled $20.9 million, a decline of 9.9 percent.

There was one fewer day of Thoroughbred racing and two fewer days at Los Alamitos than in 2015.

All handle categories showed declines, including ontrack, account wagering services, and in-state and out-of-state satellite locations. Account wagering reached $57.7 million, a drop of 12.8 percent. For the year, account wagering was $429.9 million through August, a decline of 0.03 of a percent.

Racing board executive director Rick Baedeker said average field size in August fell from 8.78 runners per race in 2015 to 8.31 this year.

“It clearly shows the number of starters per race is key to success at any meeting,” Baedeker said.

RingForFrodo More than 1 year ago
Michael,  you are so right about the California product being so poor.  Racing year round in both No Cal and So Cal  (without near enough horse inventory to do so)  only guarantees the further decline of the product and the industry.
Frank More than 1 year ago
Great comment below Michael --

SA is the most beautiful setting for a racetrack however its also one of the worst race courses -- small and tight -- build a bigger racing oval and they will come!

I also believe that there should be a minimum of 8-10 horses entered for a race -- if you dont have that many there is no race.

Who is dumb enough to bet on a 3-6 horse race field -- risk reward isnt worth it -- plus these are much much easier races to cheat in.
William More than 1 year ago
Horse racing is dying a slow death.
Michael Zeisler More than 1 year ago
The California product has really got bad it would be nice to take 6 to 8 weeks off give the horses a chance to freshen and then come back with better fields instead of continually running and running and running