11/13/2009 1:00AM

Suffolk's total daily handle rises


Benefiting from a shift in the live racing schedule, average all-sources handle for the 101-day Suffolk Downs meet in East Boston, Mass., increased 7.6 percent compared with all-sources handle for a 102-day meet last year, according to figures provided by the track on Friday.

The average all-sources figure rose despite a 21.3 percent drop in ontrack handle. The decline in average ontrack handle figure, from $113,968 last year to $84,641 this year, was dwarfed by the much larger increase in average out-of-state simulcast handle, from $886,524 last year to $987,403 this year, a jump of 11.3 percent.

Like several tracks that race primarily from the late spring to the fall, Suffolk Downs shifted its live racing schedule this year to take advantage of relatively light live-racing schedules early in the week, racing on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturdays through the duration of its meet. Last year, during the summer, the track raced on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and had to compete with the weekend simulcast signals from tracks with much higher profiles, like Saratoga, Del Mar, and Monmouth.

Though such a shift often has a beneficial effect on out-of-state simulcast handle, it can also erode ontrack figures because of a reduced number of weekend days, when customers are most likely to attend live races.

Orlando Bocachica won the riding title with 111 wins, 16 better than last year's winner, Winston Thompson. John Rigattieri saddled 58 winners to take his sixth consecutive trainer's title, and Aurora Springs Stable won 30 races to be leading owner for the second time in the past three years.