05/02/2014 7:46PM

Kentucky Oaks handle down 1.6 percent


Handle on the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on Friday was down 1.6 percent this year, or approximately $200,000, on a day when overall handle on the 12-race card was down 5.5 percent, or $2.5 million, according to a side-by-side comparison of charts of the races.

The Oaks this year had a 12-horse field, headed by even-money favorite Untapable, compared with a 10-horse field last year. The field was reduced by one Friday when Empress of Midway was scratched on the advice of the track veterinarian after she flipped in the gate, resulting in a refund of all the wagers on the filly, including horizontal bets like pick threes and pick fours.

Handle on the Oaks and the full Oaks card was being closely watched by the racing industry this year because of a deeply unpopular decision by Churchill Downs to raise its takeout rates on bets, effective with the start of the spring meet. Rates on straight wagers rose from 16 percent to 17.5 percent, while rates on exotics rose from 19 percent to 22 percent, spurring some groups to call for a boycott of the track’s races.

For the entire 12-race card, 114 horses ran, compared with 118 horses last year, a decline of 3.4 percent. All else being equal, field size is one of the primary determinants of handle, and the rule of thumb is that a 10 percent decline or increase in field size accounts for a 10 percent decline or increase in handle.

Handle on the Oaks was $14.02 million, compared with $14.24 million last year, according to the charts. Handle on the entire card was $43.14 million, compared with $45.65 million last year.

Attendance on a cool and overcast day was 113,071, Churchill reported, down slightly from reported attendance of 113,820 last year.


rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
1.6 is not significant at all unless its a trend year after year. If Mucho Macho Man was in the Alysheba and if She's a Tiger was good enough to run in Oaks handle would of been up 1.6.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Handle down too much infighting My express bet account will not let me bet CD They want more for there signal greed greed
Richard Zabel More than 1 year ago
tons article and stories about handle being down---lol joke how bout posting double pays lol talk about handle later I don't care horseracing wonders why
Richard Zabel More than 1 year ago
WHERE can I find double pays oaks-derby is there a website other then one that never shows it(drf) klol
harpharper . More than 1 year ago
The majority of CDI investments have nothing to do with horseracing. Their stock is at an all-time high because of investments in casinos and a huge Instant Racing complex in Ohio. CDI quit caring about horse racing a long time ago. Now when CD is racing, other than Oaks and Derby days, they are on the same level as Ellis Park. Well actually Ellis has more HPS(horses per start).
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
Not surprising at all handle was down on the Oaks card: While some will site the boycotts and handle was likely hurt by the problems DRF had with its Formulator software causing many to be unable to print the PPs until late on Friday night (after the Oaks and hours before the Derby card was to start), it does have to be remembered we had severe weather for much of the first half of this week in much of the country. This started late last weekend in parts of the southwest and continued Monday and Tuesday in the south and southeast and then Wednesday into Thursday in the northeast, leaving a lot of damage as well as flooding (that may or may not have been responsible for the outages with DRF's Formulator that left it unavailable for most of two days) that many people are still dealing with. The aftereffects of the severe weather likely left some people having to use money set aside for betting the Oaks and Derby cards for emergencies supplies and even shelter following what happened earlier this week. Those who want it to be because of a horseplayers boycott need to remember there was severe weather earlier this week that likely kept some people from being able to do anything with the Oaks and Derby cards (not to mention the DRF Formulator problems that didn't exactly help either).
Walter More than 1 year ago
Horseplayer boycott working?
Jim Aljian More than 1 year ago
Make a $20 show bet on Wise Dan to create a minus show pool, then avoid the pick 6 so they have to eat the guarantee, then bet 1/2 of your normal bankroll on the under card. And don't make another bet at Churchill Downs until 5/2/15.
harpharper . More than 1 year ago
CDI won't eat the guarantee. It's insured.
Jim Aljian More than 1 year ago
I guess they know how to cover all of the risks.
presidentwong1 More than 1 year ago
If its insured, then lets give the insurance company a reason to raise the premiums by betting less than the guarantee into the picksix. Cdi's costs will go up.
Daniel Garcia More than 1 year ago
Good job everyone resisting CDI. Let's show them that we can be heard together.
ghost2_ More than 1 year ago
One day's data doesn't "prove" anything. And an awful lot of money was still bet, so it's pretty disingenuous to claim that "everyone" resisted Churchill Downs.
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
And you have to also remember there was severe weather all week in various parts of the country that many are still dealing with the aftereffects of. Handle was likely down on that account and would have been up otherwise.
johnd More than 1 year ago
If the Derby Day handle is down anywhere between 6% and 8% the takeout increases will have proved to be an unmitigated disaster for CDI. Hopefully the people responsible for this travesty will be held accountable by the CDI Board of Directors and heads will roll.
Pat More than 1 year ago
I agree that an 8% shortfall would be a real disaster for CDI but don't think it will do anything to change the minds of the powers that be and reduce the take out. People like this don't have the ability to admit when they're wrong.
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
Before you all claim victory, remember we had severe weather in much of the country earlier this week that many people are still dealing with the aftereffects of. That likely played a part in the Oaks decline and will play part in Derby declines as well.
Pat More than 1 year ago
Where did you read "victory" in my reply or the post by johnd? All he said was a 6% to 8% decline would be a disaster for CDI. Do see how you could have possibly read "victory" into those statements. Suggest fifth grade remedial reading course would be helpful. Oh, by the way, if someone can't afford to bet because of weather related issues, then perhaps they should reconsider betting at ANY time at all. Obviously, they can't afford to waste their money on gambling. They need it for necessities, like food, shelter, you know, the basics. Phew.