10/08/2012 2:17PM

Monmouth handle dips despite increase in attendance


Average daily handle figures for Monmouth Park were down considerably during this year’s 65-day meet despite a large increase in average daily attendance, according to figures released by the track on Sunday.

In part, Monmouth Park officials attributed the drops in all-sources and ontrack handle to fewer races held each day this year because of the addition of four Thursday cards with seven races each. Average field size at the track this year was down only slightly, the officials said.

Average all-sources wagering was down 13.5 percent, from $4.70 million during the 71-day meet last year to $4.06 million this year, according to the figures. Average ontrack wagering was down 4.1 percent, from $491,000 last year to $471,000 this year.

Average ontrack attendance was up 10.9 percent, however, from 7,574 last year to 8,403 this year. The officials attributed the increases to several unexpectedly large crowds in attendance for various promotions at the track, including Food Truck Day and a Father’s Day promotion.

“Usually, those people are $2 bettors,” said John Heims, a spokesperson for the track.

This was the first year in which Monmouth was operated by a partnership led by the state’s Thoroughbred horsemen. The horsemen’s group is operating under a lease reached with the state, which owns the track through the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

Dennis Drazin, the advisor to the partnership group, said that Monmouth will seek to cut the Thursday cards from the racing schedule next year and race Friday through Sunday. The track plans to apply for 51 live racing dates at Monmouth next year, with 20 additional dates being held at the Meadowlands, Drazin said.