By Jim Freer and Barry Unterbrink
After the first two weeks, daily average all-sources handle is up 19 percent from about $2.65 million to about $3.16 million at the Gulfstream Park West meet.
Those numbers are for all bets, on-site and at other locations and betting services, made on races at the GP West meet. Gulfstream Park is holding the meet at Calder under a lease agreement with that track.
The GP West meet has racing Wednesdays through Sundays, with first post time of 1:15 p.m.
Based on a review of Equibase charts, the daily averages are $3,157,197 for the first 11 days this year and $2,649,569 for the first 11 days of last year’s inaugural GP West meet.
However, the average number of starters per race is down 11 percent from 9.3 for last year’s first 11 days to 8.3 for this year’s first 11 days.
There were ten races each of the eleven days this year and last year. GP West had three stakes races through eleven days in 2014. It has had no stakes races thus far this year.
For the second week, the average daily handle was $2,721,887 for five days last year and $3,161,195 for five days this year.
Numbers for this year’s second week:
Date Total handle Starters
* Wednesday, Oct. 14 $2,416,326 75
* Thursday, Oct. 15 $2,988,961 77
* Friday, Oct. 16 $3,124,458 69
* Saturday, Oct.17 $3,800,639 80
* Sunday, Oct. 18 $3,475,591 70
One reason handle is up this year is that more simulcast bettors are aware that it is being run by Gulfstream, whose name and image are more popular than those of Calder.
One reason fields are smaller this year is that there are fewer horses stabled at Calder than at this time in 2014. In January, Calder required trainers to take about 700 horses out of Calder barns.
Many horsemen obtained stalls at Gulfstream or among the 430 stalls that Gulfstream has leased at Calder. But some owners were forced to sell displaced horses to buyers in other states.
Horses among the approximately 1,400 stabled at Gulfstream make up the majority of most race fields for the GP West meet.
GP West also is drawing entrants from Palm Meadows in Boynton Beach, the training center affiliate of Gulfstream, and from Palm Beach Downs in Delray Beach.