Average Daily Handle on Races Run at Gulfstream Declined 1.8 Percent During 2018 Summer Meet

By Jim Freer and Barry Unterbrink

At this year’s Gulfstream Park summer meet, average daily total handle on races run at Gulfstream was $5.51 million, according to HorseracingFLA’s review of Equibase charts for Gulfstream races.

That was a decline of 1.8 percent from Gulfstream’s summer meet record of $5.61 million set in 2017. 

Total handle on races run at Gulfstream was $309 million for 56 days during the 2018  summer meet, compared with $292 million for 52 days during the 2017 summer meet.

 EDITOR’S NOTE — On Monday Oct. 8, Gulfstream sent out a news release stating that “total handle for the 2018 summer meet was $369 million compared  to $345 million for 2017.”
That news release did not provide details on the components of those  “total handle” numbers. As of Friday night, Gulfstream had not responded to our request for a clarification. 

For some race meets, Gulfstream has announced total handle  numbers that are the combination of bets made on races run  at Gulfstream and of bets made on Latin American Racing Channel (LARC) races for which Gulfstream distributed the signal throughout North America.

On most days, Gulfstream or its sister track  Laurel Park in Laurel, Md., carry at least several LARC races from thoroughbred tracks in Chile, Argentina or Uruguay. The Stronach Group owns Gulfstream, Laurel and four other thoroughbred tracks in the United States. –Jim Freer


Our review of Equibase charts also shows these summer meet comparisons for races run at Gulfstream:

Average number of starters per race increased 2.6 percent from 8.13 for the 2017 meet to 8.34 for the 2018 summer meet.

Average daily purses grew 3.46 percent from $336.8 million for the summer 2017 meet to $349.0 million for this year’s summer meet.

The average daily numbers are not altered due to the four less race days during the 2017 meet. Hurricane Irma forced closure of racing for seven straight days last September, and three make up days of racing were not enough to offset that.

 Gulfstream held its 2018 summer meet from July 1 to September 30

Gulfstream officials have told  us several times that the handle-related numbers we have reported are accurate.

 This summer’s decrease in handle on races at Gulfstream can be attributed, in part, to rain and other weather-related conditions.
 Gulfstream during this summer’s 56-day meet took 65 races off the turf due to rain and other wet conditions. During its 2017 summer meet, over 52 race days, Gulfstream moved 47 races from turf dirt. 

Those surface switches usually lead to several or more scratches, and result in lower handle than if a race stayed on turf.

Total handle (also known as all-sources handle) is the combination of all legal bets placed on a track’s races.

It includes: live on-track handle; betting at other race tracks and other pari-mutuels; siumulcast wagering, and off track betting  outlets; advance deposit wagering via computer and phone services; bets at sports books in Nevada and several other states; and bets at some off-shore sports books.

 Breakdowns of components of Gulfstream’s handle for the two most recent summer meets are not readily available.

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