10/14/2015 4:27PM

Yonkers: Nearly $2,000,000 wagered on International Trot card

Mike Lizzi
International Trot winner Papagayo E. and trainer Jan Waaler.

By all accounts the rebirth of the International Trot was a rousing success. The October 10 event brought major attention to Yonkers Raceway worldwide and created some much needed buzz throughout the industry.

While handle for the 12-race card at Yonkers that Saturday was just $538,933 across North America (just over $100,000 on the International Trot alone), according to Standardbred Owners Association of New York Executive Director Alex Dadoyan, the track handled around $1.4 million in Europe on the four to six races sent overseas (French PMU took four races but some Scandinavian countries took six). Overseas handle on the International Trot alone checked in at approximately $600,000.

[DRF HARNESS LIVE: Real-time insights every Saturday night--Breeders Crown eliminations from Woodbine this Saturday--Starts at 7PM]

While one can debate whether the near $2 million in total handle was strong, Dadoyan made a good point in that Yonkers had never raced on Saturday afternoon and thus it was impossible to have a good feel as to what to expect. He added that even on a Hambletonian Day card at the Meadowlands that most of the European handle comes earlier on the card rather than on the Hambletonian, which is typically raced later in the afternoon.

When asked if an earlier start time for next year would create even greater interest in Europe, where the International went to post around 9:10 p.m., he agreed it was fair argument.

“Maybe next year we’ll start earlier,” said Dadoyan. “There has already been discussion about meeting on what worked or didn’t work. There really hasn’t been enough time to digest it.”

One certainty is that the $1,000,000 International was well received, not just in the United States, but globally.

“I think we took the first step in creating a worldwide big event,” said Dadoyan, who cited positive experiences from the foreign connections as an encouraging sign. “It was very important that the foreign horses did well and had no issues with quarantine, shipping or the track. The people that came over had a great time. Even the connections of horses that didn’t race well were happy.”

Dadoyan also expressed the SOA’s appreciation for the work done by track management at Yonkers. “We couldn’t have been happier with the effort from Yonkers. They were willing to try a lot of things and put on a great show,” said Dadoyan.

Perhaps the only negative from the day was the failure of the $75,000 guarantee pick five wager to generate strong interest. Only $32,523 of new money was wagered despite the SOA seeding the pool with $25,000 to start. Dadoyan admitted that he was disappointed by the handle from the wager, but added that the major reason for the high guarantee was to create buzz.

While there isn’t an official date for 2016, the expectation is that the International Trot will return. There are no plans to be one and done,” said Dadoyan.