05/23/2012 1:27PM

Pimlico meet has rise in handle


Average daily all-sources handle for the 29-day spring meet at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore jumped 14 percent, largely because of substantial gains in wagering on the track’s signal at out-of-state sites, according to figures provided by Pimlico on Wednesday.

Average handle, which includes figures from Pimlico’s closing-day Preakness Stakes card on Saturday, was $4.90 million, compared with $4.30 million last year. Both meets had 29 live racing days.

Average handle on the track’s races in the out-of-state simulcast market was $4.45 million, a 14.8 percent gain on average out-of-state handle of $3.87 million last year, according to the figures. Ontrack handle was up 6.5 percent, but handle at offtrack sites in Maryland was down 15.4 percent.

Purses at Pimlico were boosted significantly over last year’s meet because of increasing subsidies from casinos in the state. Those subsidies are expected to increase more later this year after a large casino opens near Pimlico’s sister track, Laurel Park.

Average attendance was up 17.5 percent, from 6,555 to 7,706. Attendance for the Preakness was announced at 121,309, a record and up 12.9 percent over last year’s announced attendance of 107,398.