Wagering in Maryland was up 7.5% in 2012, the Maryland Jockey Club reported Jan. 5.
Average daily handle was up from $2.27 million to $2.44 million, with 145 live racing dates and 206 simulcast days at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.
Live handle figures increased nearly 6% from $176,300 in 2011 to $186,700 in 2012, while the export numbers grew almost 17% from $1.7 million to $1.975 million per day.
"It is significant news that the live and export numbers increased from a year ago," Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. "We finished strong at Pimlico in the spring and kept the momentum going during the Laurel Park fall meeting. I attribute the boost to increased purses—running for $250,000 per day, which is up $90,000—as well as improved field sizes and more aggressive marketing."
Field sizes improved, with an overall average of 7.90 starters from 10,876 runners in 1,376 races compared to the 7.63 average of 10,106 runners in 1,325 races in 2011.
Total attendance was up at Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), with the crowd improving from 107,398 to a record 121,309 on hand to watch Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner I'll Have Another collect the middle jewel of racing's Triple Crown.