From Harness Racing Update (page 4 PDF)
"On Friday January 7th 2011, Western Fair brought in a nightly handle of $108,640 and gave out close to $70,000 in purses. Last Friday evening they handed out a similar $70,000 in purses, but garnered a handle of $531,000. That was the highest handle night at the oval in over a decade."
In Ontario (and many other places with smaller tracks and slots) you'd often hear - when a track with $200k in handle was racing for $100k in purses - that "the handle doesn't even cover the purse". This metric is intertwined in the fabric of racing. The takeout from the handle does not just have to cover a purse and its much more complicated than that, with
fingers in the pie, other costs associated with a dollar in handle, the way its split, slots etc, but that number stands the test of time. Several years ago Standardbred Canada even added handle to purse numbers in its reporting.
At little Western Fair, handle to purse ratios are skying of late. And it is not because purses have fallen dramatically, it is because handle is starting to rise. To read about them and other tracks in Ontario trying new things, post slots, give it a click. If you are a horseplayer who worried about smaller pools in London, you might want to rethink that and give them a hard look.
Also in HRU, Finley looks at Cobalt stuff in a chat with Gural.
That's some stones folks. Steve Zorn looks at the NYRA claiming scene, and leading trainer David Jacobson. Give it a read.
Mike Dorr is writing some really good stuff - for the Horseplayer Monthly and on his own. Today he looked at the third "customer segment" in his series: The everyday, or near everyday player. What sharp guys and gals do is create their own way of looking at things. His average field size numbers were pretty cool, but the whole article is great.
Ohio is the new slots capital and its showing at Northfield. They created a $500k stakes race for three year olds, which takes the place of the Battle of the Brandywine. Northfield has always had a decent handle to purse ratio without slots. It will be interesting to see what it is with them.
Have a great Friday everyone.