07/11/2016 10:50AM

Track reports increase in attendance, decline in betting


ARCADIA, Calif. – Santa Anita concluded nearly six months of racing on Sunday with a 3 percent increase in attendance and a 5 percent decline in all-sources handle compared to a similar period last year, according to a statement from the track.

Track officials compared business from the track’s winter-spring meeting, which ran from Dec. 26 to early April, and its spring-summer meeting, which ran from early May through Sunday, with six consecutive months of racing from Dec. 26, 2014, to late June 2015. Unlike in 2015, Santa Anita had a three-week break this past April when racing shifted to Los Alamitos.

Track officials said the break in April and the absence of turf racing in the final three weeks of the spring-summer meeting because the course was being resodded contributed to the declines in business this year.

“I didn’t anticipate the loss of momentum for the three weeks off in April,” track senior vice president Joe Morris said earlier this month. “That was tough. We knew the last three weeks would be tough.”

With racing restricted to the main track, field sizes declined during the last three weeks of the meet. For the entire 40-day spring-summer meeting, which began May 5, fields averaged 7.26 starters per race compared with 7.84 in a similar period in 2015. For the last three weeks, from June 22 through Sunday, fields averaged 6.52 runners.

Nate Newby, Santa Anita’s vice president of marketing, said all-sources handle was down 1 percent through the final day of turf racing, June 19, before the decline accelerated. Newby said hot weather, with temperatures over 100 degrees on a few days in late June, limited attendance and contributed to the decline in handle.

The track did not release extensive attendance and handle figures and has not for several years.

“There were a lot of little things that contributed” to the decline, Newby said. “Last year, we finished really strong. The momentum wasn’t the same this year.”

Racing dates for 2017 have not been finalized, but Santa Anita has requested a continuous meeting beginning Dec. 26 this year. One likely scenario is for the track to run through late June without a break, as it did in 2014 and 2015, before Los Alamitos runs a two-week meeting in early July.

On the track, Rafael Bejarano won his 15th riding title at a Santa Anita meeting with 46 wins, six more than runner-up Flavien Prat. Bejarano was the leading rider at the track’s winter-spring meeting this year.

Phil D’Amato led all trainers with 25 wins, seven more than runner-up Bob Baffert. D’Amato was the leading trainer at the winter-spring meeting.

Pete and Kosta Hronis were recognized as leading owners, with seven wins and $634,068 in earnings.

Melatonin, who won the Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 25, was named the meeting’s top horse.

Vince Piscitelli More than 1 year ago

Please keep in mind that although 77.7% of races are genuinely fixed (and as a former jock I know that for fact), often one is in on the fix, so you can profit from fixed races if you pay attention.

Does that make sense?

Vince P
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Until all the cheating stops handle will continue to drop. I don't understand how the officials and owners of these tracks don't understand that. With jockeys colluding to fix results and miracle needle trainers leading the statistics at most tracks things are going to get worse. Nobody with half a brain bets seriously anymore. They don't trust the product .its that simple really.
John More than 1 year ago
Most of the California tracks have continued to raise the take outs to a point its a no win bet to play the races anymore !
I used to play a exacta , maybe boxing 3 horses in the 6-1 to 15-1 range and collect $50- $80 dollars if I caught it, now, I expect $30- $40, if Im lucky !
Plus, they refused to acknowledge the small player, us retiree's, we have limited income and yet, they dropped the parlays and the place pick all , shows that Santa Anita, DOES NOT CARE !
The parlays allow us to sit with small bets and have a semi chance at a decent hit, same with the place pick all .....................try listening to the bettors once in a while !
J Vette More than 1 year ago
Looks at the GARBAGE they offered, 1 Saturday 5 Maiden races !!!!!
Who wants to bet that on a Saturday, then throw in 5-6 fields, don't know why they kept the doors open ???
Look at the Jockey colony, can anyone of them be in the top 10 or 15 back east ???
Worse group of jockeys ever in the history of S.A.
Steve Wilson More than 1 year ago
Don't worry - they'll make up this handle loss and then some when they get the Breeders Cup for the ninth time in seven years.
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
My wagering has declined ever since the cole norman, assmussen shows in 2003 and 2004.  20x difference.   Winning wagers much more often.