04/20/2011 12:21PM

Sunland Park handle drops


Average daily handle at Sunland Park in New Mexico dropped 10 percent at the track’s recently concluded 77-day meet, according to figures provided by track officials. The drop accompanied a 3.3 percent decline in the track’s average daily purses, according to the figures.

Average all-sources handle dropped from $851,540 during the 2009-10 season to $766,681 during the 2010-11 race meet, according to the figures. Sunland, which runs both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races, ran an identical number of days during the two meets, but the track carded 12 fewer races this meet, down 1.3 percent, from 894 to 882.

Purses dropped from $279,415 a day to $270,093 a day. Purses and racetrack operations at Sunland, as at all tracks in New Mexico, are heavily subsidized by slot machine revenue at the tracks.

Using traditional figures to calculate revenue derived from handle to purses, average daily handle at the track generated approximately $20,000 a day for purses, a difference of approximately $250,000 from the actual amount distributed in purses.

Offtrack handle averaged $679,832 a day, while ontrack handle averaged $86,849 a day.

Dustin Dix, the director of racing operations for Sunland, said that ontrack numbers were hurt by a cold winter, while off-track numbers were negatively affected by the recent closing of New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation, one of the largest simulcast outlets in the U.S. New York City OTB closed its doors in December.

Alejandro Medellin took the Thoroughbred jockey title with 64 wins from 310 mounts and purse earnings of $1,334,163. Chris A. Hartman took the Thoroughbred trainer’s title for the fourth time at Sunland, with 46 wins from 148 starts, a 31-percent strike rate, and purse earnings of $799,208.