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.