The 2009 Remington Park Thoroughbred season came to a close Dec. 14. With the end of live racing for the year also came the end of a long and successful streak for racing attendance.
For the first time since 2003, Remington Park attendance for the Thoroughbred season showed a decline to the corresponding season the prior year. Attendance for the 67-days of live racing was 403,411 for an average of 6,021 per program. The total was 6.7% lower compared to the 67-day Thoroughbred season of 2008.
In the larger scope of yearly attendance, Remington Park remains a major attraction for horseracing and casino gaming. The total attendance is over the 1.6 million mark for 2009 and with two weeks left in the year is already an all-time record over the 21-year history of Remington Park.
Total pari-mutuel handle for the Thoroughbred season was $45,730,096 for an average per day of $682,539. The total is a decrease of 10.8% compared to 2008.
While the statistics are lower than a year ago, Remington Park remains optimistic for 2009 and the new decade that begins in a few days.
“Remington Park’s Thoroughbred season drew more attention nationally than we’ve ever received due to the quality of the competition,” said Remington Park president & general manager Scott Wells. “We continue to be a major entertainment attraction in our region, which is reflected in our setting an overall attendance record for the year. A schedule change in 2009 to Monday night racing proved unsuccessful and is probably responsible for the slight declines during the fall. However, we have corrected that for 2010 and expect to rebound strongly.”
Support from horsemen has always been a major strength in the Remington Park Thoroughbred season and that continued in 2009 with 5,796 horses competing in 610 races for an average field size of 9.5 per race, down just one-tenth from 2008 when the average field size over 614 races was 9.6 per race.
The total purse distribution for the season was $13,453,928 for a daily average of $200,805. The average was down slightly compared to 2008 by 4.1%.
Remington Park on-track pari-mutuel handle slid 11.8% compared to the 2008 season with the total wagered at $4,363,606. Handle throughout Remington Park’s off-track betting partners in Oklahoma was $603,964, down 16.8% against last year.
The exporting of Remington Park racing to other wagering venues was $31,563,785, a decrease of 8.5% compared to the same total a year ago.
The total pari-mutuel handle for the 67-day season also includes money wagered at Remington Park and its OTB facilities on imported simulcast racing from other tracks. Wagering on the incoming simulcast races by fans at Remington Park was $5,054,844 which was down 15.9% compared to 2008. At the OTBs, the import wagering handle was $4,143,897, a decrease of 18.5% compared to last year’s total in the same category.
The combined handle on Remington Park racing (on-track wagering, that at OTBs in Oklahoma and wagering on the export signal), was $36,531,355. The total reflected a 9.1% decrease compared to the 2008 total wagered on Remington Park racing.
Remington Park live racing is now on hiatus until 2010 when the Quarter Horse & Mixed-breed season begins on March 5 but remains open daily for simulcast racing and casino gaming. Beginning New Year’s Day 2010, the casino floor will expand to 750 electronic gaming machines.