07/21/2009 12:00AM

Indiana Downs has handle increase


Indiana Downs averaged $983,848 in daily handle on its live races at the meet that ended July 15, up 4.1 percent over the 2008 meet, when it averaged $945,023 a day.

The gross handle was up by a higher percentage, but Indiana Downs conducted a 62-day meet this year, up from 54 last year. There is a possibility that the number of days may be increased next season, according to the track's racing secretary, Butch Cook.

"If the slot revenue keeps going up like it has, it will definitely be a possibility," Cook said. "The quality of racing has gone up quite a bit, and that helps boost the handle."

The number of starters per race increased to an average of 8.8 from 8.6 in 2008. Asked if that factor and the increase in handle were directly linked, Cook said, "not as much as you might think" and cited the weather-related uncertainties affecting turf races as an important factor, prompting the track to card more main-track races during a rainy spring.

Orlando Mojica won the riding title at Indiana Downs for the fourth time with 91 winners, 31 more than second-place finisher Leandro Goncalves. Joe Davis won the trainers' title with 20 wins in only 64 starts.