Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Saratoga Numbers Are In, Monday Notes

What's easier to believe?

i) Every statement said this week and last week at the two political conventions?
ii) A track press release on handle numbers

Answer: It's about a tie.

I've dissected the recent release from NYRA on Saratoga's handle numbers. On the surface it looks like things went well and there was not very much of the usual fudging.  While attendance was about flat (up 0.8%), handle from all sources, per day was up 9.0%. The increase in handle is partially attributed to a slight increase in field size, and running 2.5% more races per day. As well, only 27 races were off the turf this year, compared to 41 last.

In addition, takeout is lower on exotics this year, compared to last year, so patrons had more money to rebet. This is probably why on-track attendance was flat, while handle was up 3.3%.  Winning ticket-cashers don't stick the extra cash in a sock and walk home with it.

Even taking into account some of those metrics, apples to apples, they had a really nice meet, in my opinion.

Del Mar will report soon and one can expect a good meet there, too. Big meets will usually do well because of branding, but this meet at Del Mar had mucho carryovers in both the pick 5 and 6 pools. Their field size has been good as well.


One area New York racing has failed is in pick 4 payouts. At HANA, Jeff Platt lays out the case extremely well.

In the same article, the timer at Arlington Park's difficulties are also discussed. Often times in racing the powers that be say "we want to hear from you, please let us know when things are going wrong". This time that is exactly what's happened, but mighty CDI seems to be asleep at the wheel. Imagine if that happened in the NFL, where a scoreboard wasn't working in week one, or the stats compiler sent to the league for fantasy football was not available in week one. It would be fixed immediately, because fans matter.

 A Rock n' Roll Dance was beaten yesterday in the Cane Pace at Tioga. I thought he looked a teeny bit ouchy. I hope he's ready for the Jug, especially since the connections are from Ohio.

It's only a matter of time. Gamer Zynga hired an online poker exec recently.

13,000 horses may die if the slots at racetrack program is cancelled. I think that's a PR nightmare, not for the government, but for racing participants.

 I have not seen Thalhiemer's report used by the Ontario racing factions to ask the government for more help. It seems there is a narrative there - you came on-site and stole away some very good customers who will never come back to bet racing.

Have a great Monday everyone.

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