03/31/2015 12:51PM

Laurel sees rise in daily handle

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Laurel Park concluded its winter meet, which ran from Jan. 1 to March 29, with a 14.6 percent gain in average daily handle.

Laurel averaged $1.76 million a day this year, up from $1.5 million in 2014. Handle on Laurel’s simulcast signal rose 20 percent, from $1.18 million a day last year to $1.42 million at this meet.

Despite 10 live race days lost to weather and the Mid-Atlantic simulcast dispute, which restricted the Laurel signal from going to some sites, total handle was down only 5.4 percent, from $79.8 million to $75.5 million.

This is the second straight year that weather kept racing from returning to the Laurel turf course in March.

“The numbers are quite respectable overall,” said Sal Sinatra, general manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. “There’s no doubt we would have beaten our 2014 numbers for total handle if we had raced just a few more days.”