04/18/2012 1:05PM

Sunland: Overall handle increases


Average daily all-sources handle at Sunland Park in southeast New Mexico rose 4.9 percent for the 77-day meet this year compared with the figure from the 77-day meet last year, according to records provided by Sunland on Wednesday.

The average daily handle, $806,308, was helped by a 6.4 percent gain in out-of-state handle on Sunland’s signal, in particular through California betting sites, which imported more races from Sunland this year. Ontrack average daily handle fell 6.6 percent, from $86,849 last year to $81,147 this year, a $5,700 per-day decline that was more than offset by the $43,500 per-day jump in out-of-state handle.

Purses were up slightly compared with last year when comparing actual purses distributed during both meets, from $225,678 a day to $227,420. Sunland, however, applied a $663,814 underpayment to purses after the meet ended last year, and when compared with that figure, average daily purses declined 2.9 percent.

Purses at Sunland Park, as at all racetracks in New Mexico, are heavily subsidized by revenue from a casino attached to the track.

Dustin Dix, the track’s director of racing operations, said in an e-mail that handle figures benefited from a 9.13 average field size during the meet. The track also set a record for one-day handle when bettors wagered $3.5 million on the Sunland Derby card on March 25.