SBD/April 23, 2013/Facilities

Santa Anita Sees Handle Gain, Attendance Drop For Winter-Spring Meeting

Weather contributed to an ontrack attendance decrease of 9% at Santa Anita
Santa Anita President & GM George Haines said that the racetrack’s winter-spring meeting ended Sunday “with a slight gain in all-sources handle, but a sizeable drop in ontrack business,” according to Steve Andersen of the DAILY RACING FORM. Haines said that the all-sources handle “rose 4 percent,” but added that ontrack handle “fell 10 percent on comparative days from the 2011-12 winter-spring season, while ontrack attendance was down 9 percent.” Haines: “We had a challenge early in the meet with weather. At the end of the meeting, we recovered well with attendance.” The gain in all-sources handle was “caused by an increase of approximately 40 percent in account wagering through telephone and Internet sources.” The meeting was “the first that was available for viewing on both TVG and HRTV, a subsidiary of Santa Anita’s parent company, The Stronach Group.” The 71-day winter-spring meeting began Dec. 26, and is “expected to be the last of its kind for the foreseeable future.” If Hollywood Park closes after ‘13, Santa Anita is “expected to request additional racing dates in the spring and early summer.” Haines said that if Santa Anita “runs for more than six months in the first half of 2014, the meeting will look significantly different than the 2013 season” (, 4/22).

DOWN TO THE WIRE: In Chicago, Neil Milbert reports Arlington Park is “asking the Illinois Racing Board to permit it to vacate days if an insufficient number of horses are entered for the opening week of the meet, scheduled to start May 3.” Vacating the live racing dates “would enable the track to stay open for simulcasting and betting two premier events in American racing.” But sources said that “without a deal in place, the Kentucky division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, which represents horsemen at Churchill Downs, won't give its required permission for simulcasting and off-track betting from Churchill Downs, a show of solidarity between the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and Churchill Downs horsemen.” The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association “could take similar action” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/23).
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