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