10/09/2012 11:34AM

Santa Anita: All-sources handle up 1%; attendance, ontrack handle decline

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ARCADIA, Calif. – Santa Anita has shown an increase in all-sources handle and a decline in ontrack attendance and handle through the first eight days of the autumn meeting.

Through Monday, the meeting showed an increase in all-sources handle of 1 percent, with much of the growth coming through account wagering, according to the track’s president, George Haines. Account wagering handle has increased 30 percent, he said.

Ontrack attendance is down 5 percent for the meeting, while ontrack handle is down 10 percent.

The season runs through Nov. 4 and includes the Breeders’ Cup Championship days on Nov. 2-3. The track will be the site of the Breeders’ Cup for the first time since 2009.

The decline in ontrack business is partially attributed to triple-digit temperatures that plagued the first three days of the meeting – Sept. 28-30 – and kept some fans away.

“The ontrack is down, but we’re up significantly in ADW handle,” Haines said. “We think some of the heat-related days opening the meeting sort of stopped us from getting out of the gate well.”

Haines said the gain in all-sources handle, including betting from simulcasting and account wagering sources, has helped the bottom line.

“As far as purses go, we’re okay,” he said.

Monday’s business was stronger than the corresponding day last year. The ontrack attendance was 7,378, compared with 7,048 last year.

“I think the momentum will build,” Haines said.

The average field size has increased slightly, from 9.25 runners per race through the first eight days of the 2011 meeting to 9.33 through the first eight days of the current meeting. The entire 2011 meeting had an average of 8.77 starters per race.

There have been other changes at the meeting. The main track was renovated over the summer, with the addition of 1,000 tons of sand. The track was biased toward speed in the opening days of the meeting.

“We were concerned about the speed bias,” Haines said Monday. “The last few days, we’re seeing some closers.”

The track switched television production companies before the start of the meeting, replacing in-house staff with Pegasus Communications, which provides television production at Los Alamitos and Fairplex Park.

In the early days of the meeting, television pictures were marred by erratic camerawork, particularly in races on the hillside turf course.

Haines acknowledged the television difficulties at the start of the meeting.

“We’ve made great progress with TV,” he said. “I know it was a hard start.”

Nate More than 1 year ago
And these are the jerks Cuomo says should run NYRA
Csun More than 1 year ago
I had the pleasure of going to The Frontrunner on a couple of occasions over the past few years as a guest of some very well-connected players.These guys would drive a couple hours to see live racing. The table that I sat at was right on the finish line. These high-rollers used to run up a food tab of $400-$500 a day on the weekends, tipped out everybody in the joint and used to pump tens of thousands a day thru the windows. All of the guys used to receive free parking passes and Turf Club credentials. New management comes in, and these same guys can't get a table, much less any sort of VIP treatment. That's how you create ADW patrons!!
mikey More than 1 year ago
Spend that kind of cash at a casino and be treated like a king.Free room's show's meal's and a thank you when you leave.The track give's you nothing, what a joke.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Well that pretty much says it all. Santa Anita management will step over a dollar to pick up a dime evreytime.
Micahdog More than 1 year ago
Great that sand added to main track but what is Santa Anita doing to grow grass on the 'green concrete'. I love Santa Anita but hard to believe we can't have Belmont, Keeneland or Woodbine type REAL GRASS at this track. Let's hope two weeks of rain softens it up for BC turf racing and every horse is safer and has a fair chance.
mikey More than 1 year ago
The reason attendance is down is 1) high gas price's 2) Paying for parking 3)Paying to get 4) The price of food. 5) Paying for a good seat. Casino do not charge for parking, to get in, and they give you free drink's.Attendance will get even lower on line and phone betting rebates and the poor racing is also a big part.When will track's say they do not care about attendance and only the amount bet.Go to any racino and you will find many more people in the casino than the track.Plus i never heard of a druged slot machine.
Nate More than 1 year ago
Somebody do a story for heaven's sake on those morons renaming all of the stakes - they had a stake race called the Unzip me Stakes - somebody call them out
Greg Scherr More than 1 year ago
was named after a very good Cal Bred stakes filly, nothing wrong with naming stakes after horses that ran in the last 5 years rather than 25 years ago, BTW I remember the horses 25 years ago but why not update
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
They failed to name races after any horses that raced here. The names are idiotic. I understand changing the names associated with Oak Tree, and renaming some of the smaller stakes. Tim Conway is very deserving. But there is something to be said for tradition. And there is certainly something to be said for taste. Santa Anita's biggest promblem is its owner. Frank Stronach has let his ego take over and it has definately had a negative impact..
Nate More than 1 year ago
Or how about him changing the Goodwood to the Awesome Again Stakes after his sire