The Maryland Jockey Club announced June 29 that daily handle was up nearly 22% from the previous year during the recently concluded Preakness (gr. I) meet at Pimlico Race Course.
Average daily handle for the 28-day meet was $6.3 million, compared with $5.2 million in 2015, when Pimlico ran 37 days. Race dates were down 24% this year compared with 2015 and this year's 253 races were down 28%.
The handle was bolstered by a record Preakness day crowd May 21 of 135,256 that wagered a record $94.1 million. Preakness day handle was up 10.5% compared with 2015. Pimlico also played host to a record Black-Eyed Susan day crowd of 47,956 May 20.
According to Jockey Club Information Services, total purses for the meet reached $10,774,090, down 24% from last year. That decline was largely related to the 28% decline in total races this year. The per-race average purse improved 4.3% to $42,585.
"We were pleased with the Preakness Meet at Pimlico," said Maryland Jockey Club president Sal Sinatra. "The atmosphere and events surrounding Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan (days) were electric and, once again, horsemen throughout the world put on an incredible show. We want to thank our fans for supporting this meet and helping us set records on Preakness Day and Black-Eyed Susan Day. "
Sinatra said an improved off-track network in Maryland contributed to the increased average daily handle.
"We also believe our expanded OTB network—the Horseshoe Casino, Timonium, and Boonsboro—continues to increase exposure of our great product," Sinatra said. "We will continue investing in Maryland racing."