04/16/2014 12:07PM

Handle down at Sunland Park despite large average field size


Handle during the 76-day mixed meet at Sunland Park in New Mexico dropped 8.5 percent this year despite the track drawing almost nine horses per race, one of the strongest figures in the country, according to numbers provided by the track.

The average daily handle on the track’s races fell from $797,279 to $729,654. Most of the decline occurred in the out-of-state market, with offtrack handle dropping 9.3 percent from last year’s meet. Both meets had 76 live racing days.

Dustin Dix, the director of racing operations at the track, said out-of-state handle suffered because of bad winter weather on the East Coast and in the Midwest and because of increased competition from other tracks on one of Sunland’s live racing days, Tuesday.

The average purse distribution at Sunland was $251,200 per day, up slightly from last year. Purses at Sunland are provided almost entirely by revenue from a casino attached to the track. Lured by those purses, the average field size was 8.84 horses per race this year, down slightly from 9.03 horses last year.

The track had a record attendance of 18,642 on March 23, when it ran the Sunland Derby, the track’s richest race.

– additional reporting by Mary Rampellini

Chuck Berger More than 1 year ago
The product was just not worth betting into. Too many bottom, sore claimers running. State breds running for md. 8k. You can't get worse than that.
mikey More than 1 year ago
PURSES almost ENTIRELY by revenue from the CASINO. That's about as circling as you can get!
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Its not the number of horses in the gate that makes people bet.it how they perceive the honesty and integrity of the races.Honest product = more customers = more revenue....dishonest racing = lack of interest by bettors = less revenue..simple really.
Bugsy Anderson More than 1 year ago
Dont real handicappers prefer dirt? There should be no excuse for this
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
real handicappers prefer honesty.
1971 Whippet More than 1 year ago
Less than 1 million wagered and $251,000 paid out. Good thing I'm not good at math, because I'd think this can't last too long.