SBD/Issue 144/Facilities & Venues

Laurel Park Sees Wagering, Attendance Drops For Winter Meet

Wagering and attendance “suffered significant drops” at the recently completed Laurel Park winter meet, with total wagering falling from $321M in ’06 to $291.8M this year and attendance dipping 19.3% to 214,409, according to John Scheinman of the WASHINGTON POST. The meet, which ran from January 1-April 15, featured 71 days of live racing, one less than last year. Maryland Jockey Club President & COO Lou Raffetto said that field sizes were “hampered by bad weather and a shortage of horses.” Raffetto: “Last year we had a record meet. We set the bar pretty high. Our meet this year, in terms of horseflesh, wasn’t a solid one. We were probably down [150-200] horses from where we were a year ago” (WASHINGTON POST, 4/20). In Baltimore, Sandra McKee reports the in-state handle dropped 10.8%, while the out-of-state handle also fell 7.8% from $183.1M to $168.8M. Raffetto “attributed the decline in out-of-state wagering to increased competition for simulcasting signals and a decline in the size of fields at Laurel Park” (Baltimore SUN, 4/20).

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