Lone Star Attendance Rises, Wagering Declines

Lone Star Attendance Rises, Wagering Declines
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

In spite a slight gain in average daily attendance, on-track wagering and overall handle declined during the 60-day meet at Lone Star Park that concluded July 18.

According to a release from the Grand Prairie, Texas, track, attendance totaled 417,096 for a daily average of 6,952. Lone Star averaged 6,883 for the 65-day meet in 2009.

The track reported on-track wagering of $17.4 million this year, for a daily average of $290,569, which was down 9% from last year’s average of $320,709.

Average daily all-sources wagering slipped 23.3% from $1.96 million last year to $1.63 million in 2010. Total all-sources handle was $97.8 million this year, compared with $127.5 million in 2009.

Lone Star reported the biggest decline in wagering during 2010 was on the track’s outgoing simulcast signal. Off-track simulcasts of the track’s live racing decreased by 25% from $1.1 million per day to $834,000.

"We are pleased that we were able to attract more fans per day to Lone Star Park at a time than other tracks across the country that are seeing lower attendance numbers," Lone Star Park president and general manager Drew Shubeck said in a release. "Obviously, the decline in our wagering handle is disappointing. The biggest drop, in our off-track numbers, is consistent with other tracks in the state indicating the quality of Texas racing has declined to the point where it’s becoming irrelevant on the national level. Racing fans in other states are telling us they are not interested in wagering on our races. It’s a strong message that we need to improve the quality of racing at Lone Star Park.

"The other decreases in on-track wagering and all-sources handle are consistent with what’s happening throughout the country and are largely due to the slow national economic recovery and the continued penetration of internet wagering into our market despite the fact it is illegal," Shubeck continued. "At a time when ‘every dollar counts,’ Texas’ prohibition of advanced deposit wagering is costing us jobs and horsemen valuable purse dollars."

Lone Star reported a slight decline in average field size, with 4,689 runners in 564 races for an average 8.3 horses per race. Fields averaged 8.7 runners per race in 2009 when there were 5,385 starters in 616 races.

Average daily purses decreased by 15% from $177,089 last year to $150,871 in 2010.

Jockey Chris Landeros successfully defended his title with 101 winners, one victory shy of tying Lone Star Park’s record of 102 wins in a season.

Bret Calhoun captured his first Lone Star Park training title with 62 wins, 14 more than Danny Pish’s 48 trips to the winner’s circle. Lone Star Park all-time leading trainer Steve Asmussen finished third with 45 wins.

For the third straight year, the owner’s race was won by Tom Durant, who set a new season record with 37 victories.

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