Laurel Park's "Ten Days at 10 Percent" promotion didn't produce the desired results as far as handle is concerned, but track officials said the concept--cutting pari-mutuel takeout in half--should continue to be explored.
Horseplayers were offered a takeout of 10% (actually a little more than 11%) on all wagers made on Laurel races during the 10-day meet. Final figures, however, indicated handle was down both in and out of state, track officials said. The numbers don't include one rebate shop and YouBet.com, whose customers wagered on the Laurel meet last summer.
Detailed handle figures weren't immediately available.
“The concept of a reduced takeout was very well received by the industry press and the fans around the country,” Maryland Jockey Club president and chief operating officer Lou Raffetto said in a statement. “The end result was that we did not see the kind of increases we had hoped for (but the) test was inconclusive.
"The biggest issue was that we were going up against Saratoga and Del Mar. Trying to draw the attention of the bettors around the country who are focused in on those marquee meets is difficult regardless of the takeout. I do believe this is a concept that the industry should continue to explore.”
Meanwhile, 22-year-old Luiss Garcia captured 11 races to win his second career title in Maryland, the first one having come at Pimlico Race Course in the spring. He leads all riders in the colony with 90 victories this year.
“A title is a title,” said Garcia, a top-10 rider in the Maryland jockey colony since 2003. “Any time I can sit atop the standings at the end of a meet is a good feeling. I love what I’m doing and feel very confident. I am now getting on good horses and want to keep working hard because that is the name of the game.
Dale Capuano, Hamilton Smith, and Gammy Vazquez all saddled four winners to share the training crown. Capuano now has 30 titles in Maryland and has been in the top three for the last 16 years. Michael Gill led all owners with four wins; Vazquez trained all of them.
Live racing returns to Laurel Sept. 5 for the 17-week fall meet.