10/16/2013 11:46AM

Northlands meet handle up slightly in average, down in total


Daily all-sources handle on Northlands Park races rose slightly at the recently completed meet, while fewer racing days resulted in a 4.4 percent decline in total all-sources handle. The meet began May 3 and ended Monday.

In 2012, a total of $18,759,314 was wagered over 82 days of racing, while this year $17,940,141 was bet over the 78 days.

The daily average of $230,001 was up by 0.5 percent over last year’s average of $228,772.

Mostly due to a failed experiment of running on Mondays, the ontrack average was down by 7.8 percent to $77,018 compared to $83,580 in 2012. The total ontrack handle of $6,007,445 was off by 12.3 percent compared to the total of $6,853,561 last year.

“All in all, we’re pleased with the 2013 meet,” said Chris Roberts, venue manager for Northlands Park. “We tried to grab a larger share of the export market by running on Monday’s and unfortunately did not gain a lot of traction. That experiment won’t be repeated in 2014. Our major successes were built around events, and we had a great year of building terrific, memorable events.”

Northlands goes all out in promoting the Grade 3, $200,000 Canadian Derby, and the $1,160,650 wagered on the day was easily the highest of the meet.

Roberts said that next year Northlands would probably run three days a week the whole meet. Northlands ran four days a week for much of the 2013 meet.

“From a supply standpoint, any period of four-card-per-week racing seriously taxes our horse population,” he said.

Jockey Rico Walcott will likely be considered for the Sovereign Award as the best rider in Canada after dominating the meet with 148 wins. Amie Pooli, second in the standings with 75 wins, also is a leading candidate for a Sovereign Award as the leading apprentice in the country.

Dale Saunders led the trainers’ standings with 48 wins. Greg Tracy was second with 41.

Broadway Empire’s win with Walcott aboard in the Canadian Derby was the highlight of the year.