HORSE RACING BY THE NUMBERS

In the coming weeks, the stakeholders in Virginia will be taking a long and hard look at the completed race meet at Colonial Downs. Tough purse economics and competition for simulcast and ADW dollars has many wondering what can be done to improve racing in Virginia.

A major issue is placement in the market and, while the overall market is ever changing, one thing seems to remain quite clear – you don’t want to compete with Saratoga. The grand old dam of Northern New York just seems to keep rolling along no matter how buggered up the rest of racing in the Empire State may be.

The numbers from this past weekend were interesting. We aren’t sure we know what they mean, but here they are.

Saturday, when Va-bred A Little Warm won the feature race, the $500,000 Jim Dandy, there were 28,682 in attendance. Those folks bet $4,682,285 on-track. New York OTB kicked in $4,342,445 and the simulcast market pumped in $12,707,232 for a total of $21,732,232. Don’t know if that includes ADW handle or not, but it’s a whopping big number which shows exactly why selling your racing on a weekend is tough.

Monmouth had their signature event on Sunday which drew the Derby and Preakness winners and runners-up. Some 40,904 fans went to the races and bet $3,270,935 with simulcast handle of another $14 million and change. Total handle was $17,942,170 for the day of racing that also included the $150,000 Jersey Derby, the $150,000 Regret Stakes, $200,000 Matchmaker, $200,000 Oceanport and the $150,000 Teddy Drone.

Meanwhile, back at the Spa, Virginia-bred Malibu Prayer was winning the Grade 1 Ruffian. That race only featured six runners so it might not have been the best betting race on the card. Just the same, 22,190 folks showed up and bet $3,152,320, less than $120,000 the total bet by 18,000 more folks in New Jersey. Total handle for Sunday at Saratoga was also not far behind the Haskell total at $16,132,653.