Handle was up 5% for the year, and about 10% on a per horse basis. For a small track these numbers are good, considering neighbor tracks were down double digits this season, and small tracks are getting eaten alive by the bigger signals in 2016.
Crunk has an eye-opening and very heady analysis here (give it a read, he did a much better job than I can here between meetings), so there's no need to delve much more into it. But a few of his points are worth repeating and analyzing.
They had some terrible luck, with almost one full card consisting of four and three horse fields. This season 138 races (about 15 or so cards worth) had six or fewer horses. Last season that number was about 30% lower.
Turf cards were washed out, some on their best night, Thursday. 43 turf races were off turf, versus 17 last season.
Using a little betting math, a 7% reduction in field size, apples to apples, year over year, handle should be down about 4%. When cards are washed out, more like 7% or 8% is probably a better estimate.
With neighbor tracks down about 15% or more, there's that to add to the equation.
With so much bet on track, bad weather is more important, too.
The 'Shakopee Bridgejumper' stayed home this year, which is good for the track, but bad for handle.
Doing nothing, standardized, one may expect a 10-15% decrease in handle, at a bare minimum. So, 5%, or 10% per entry up certainly (as O_Crunk concludes) was pretty good.
Folks asked me early on what I thought might happen this year and I honestly did not know. It's a small track, lowering takeout to a fair level (but not out of this world). If a gun was held to my head I answered that I thought 15% would be a nice gain. Considering the characteristics in Crunk's post, I am pretty happy with that estimate. I think that was probably in the ball park.
Where does the little track go from here? Who knows, but like I did this year, they will see some of my dollars at these takeout rates. I had a fun meet, and enjoyed the racing, when the sun was shining and the box was full.
I would like to make a note before I rush back off to work, on Canterbury itself:
A meet where people have fun; where the simulcast feed is filled with families on my screen watching horse racing, eating hot dogs and soaking it up; a place that has alternative gaming money and wants to use it to make the place fun and exciting and bettable; a place that seems to be doing everything they can to grow, to say "hey have a look at us"; is what horse racing is supposed to be. It's what we ask all tracks to do to promote this sport.
Hats off to them for trying. Canterbury should be very proud of their efforts and I wish this sport had a hundred tracks like them.
Have a nice Tuesday everyone.