By Jim Freer and Barry Unterbrink
Gulfstream Park had a record $9.5 million in average daily all-sources handle during its 2015-2016 championship meet that ended on Sunday.
That shattered the previous record of $8.6 million for a Gulfstream meet, set in its 2012-2013 championship meet.
In its meet-end news release, the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track announced that it had $807 million in all-sources handle (total handle) for its meet that ended Sunday April 3.
Gulfstream did not announce a daily average. But based on its 85 race days, the daily average was just under $9.5 million.
Gulfstream did not provide breakdowns of live handle and of the components of off-site handle.
We tracked Gulfstream’s handle and field sizes throughout the 2015-2016 meet by reviewing Equibase charts. We reported several times that Gulfstream was on route to daily average handle of more than $9 million.
In its 2014-2015 championship meet, Gulfstream had daily average all-sources handle of $8.1 million. That took place during a meet when it lost considerable potential handle, perhaps $500,000 a day, in simulcast business.
Amid a contract dispute, Gulfstream’s signal was not available to 23 racetracks and their wagering outlets that are members of the MidAtlantic Cooperative in several northeastern states. In 2015-2016 there were no disruptions of Gulfstream’s signal.
Our review of Equibase charts shows that Gulfstream’s average starters per race remained high at 9.1 for the 2015-2016 meet that began Dec 5. That was a four percent decline from its record of 9.5 starters set during its 2014-2015 championship meet.
One reason for Gulfstream’s smaller field sizes was an increase in the number of races it took off the turf because of wet weather—resulting in numerous scratches.
Gulfstream took 57 races off the turf during its recent meet, compared with just 13 in 2014-2015.
Florida Derby Day Record
Gulfstream’s 2015-2016 all-sources handle included $32,082,270 on Saturday, April 2 for its 14-race Florida Derby card.
That was a record for the facility Gulfstream opened in 2006. The previous record was $27,255,863, set for 14 races on Feb. 27, 2015 which also was Florida Derby day.
The only three larger handle days at Gulfstream were for the Breeders’ Cups it held in 1989, 1992 and 1999.Total handle (bets made at Gulfstream and elsewhere on Breeders’ Cup races) was more than $57 million each of those three years. The highest was $100,336,270 on Nov. 6, 1999.
“We’re extremely gratified with Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet,” said P.J. Campo, Gulfstream’s General Manager and The Stronach Group’s Vice President of Racing.
“Despite an inclement December and 57 races being taken off the turf, we continued to build our racing program with incredible equine and human performances and wonderful support from horsemen throughout North America,” he said. “We still believe there’s plenty of room for growth in our Championship Meet and we’re excited about our summer program; a program we continue to reinvigorate. We’re looking forward to a great summer with our Summit of Speed and Florida Sire Stakes races, and we’re looking forward to making our Championship Meet even better next year.”
Gulfstream began its three-month spring meet on Wednesday April 8. Total handle numbers for that meet are not yet readily available
NOTE: All-sources handle is comprised of these bets made on a track’s races: live on-track; at other thoroughbred tracks and pari-mutuels; at Off-Track Betting locations; via computer and phone Advance Deposit Wagering Services; and at Nevada casinos.