02/19/2013 1:23PM

Santa Anita business a mixed bag

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Boosted by account wagering, all-sources handle was up 3 percent at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting through Sunday, according to track president George Haines.

But ontrack handle had declined by approximately 15 percent, which Haines attributed to wet weather and can be largely recovered before the meeting ends on April 21, he said. Sunday was the 34th day of the 71-day meeting, which began on Dec. 26.

“The first half of the meet we had some inclement weather that slowed things down with ontrack attendance and handle,” he said.

“I think we can make some of that number up. I have a good feeling.

“When you have a slow start like we did, people delay their visits until later in the meeting.”

Some of the track’s biggest races have yet to be run – notably the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 2 and the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 6. Both programs draw large crowds.

Haines said that account wagering, largely through the internet, has risen 40 percent when compared to the 2011-12 meeting. He cited increased distribution of the television signal as the primary reason.

For the first time this year, both TVG and HRTV are showing Santa Anita’s winter-spring meeting. In the past, HRTV had exclusive rights to the winter-spring meeting.

Haines did not release detailed attendance and handle figures.

Through Monday, field sizes have averaged 8.37 runners per race, compared to 8.25 for a similar period last year. The overall 2011-2012 meeting had an average field size of 7.86 runners.

Csun More than 1 year ago
Jimmy "The Hat" Allard and his legions of followers are asked to leave their well-deserved table at The Frontrunner. On-track handle is now down 15%. Somewhere an off-shore rebate house is very happy to get the tens of thousands a day in play.
John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
Used to be THE GREAT RACE PLACE - no longer.
Jack Twee More than 1 year ago
When they raised the takeout I stopped betting California racing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's simple....The reason the on-track handle is down so much this meet is due to the fact that they no longer play the song "My California" during the live races.
Kelly Knisley More than 1 year ago
Until they pull there heads out, get back to the basics of customer service (a management issue of over pricing ,poor quality of food / drink) & remember that the two dollar betting customer Is one of their most Important assets! Stop catering to the bigger barns and open the stable door wider for the smaller Trainer/Owner operations to make the game a more even playing ground! THEY ARE SCREWED!!!!!!
James Pugliese More than 1 year ago
When i was young it was such a special track to travel from frisco to watch the big time horses,trainers and jockeys. THE CROWDS WERE SO LARGE ! T HERE WAS SUCH A BUZZ JUST BEING THERE,REALLY EXCITING! Get this place back on the beam.
Mike More than 1 year ago
This industry cannot seem to figure out how to market itself when the old families and the great thoroughbreds they bred got out of racing....No need to market back then when it had a stranglehold on gambling and you had the great handicap thoroughbreds running in great races everywhere creating publicity.....
Jerome Moynihan More than 1 year ago
what a shame that SA execs can't figure out how to bring people to what is,in my mind,the most uniquely beautiful racing venue in this country.They also appear unable to get press coverage;even for the most signifcant stakes races. Are they really trying? or are they in over their collective heads in the field of PR?