Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino reported strong gains in business for the first five days of its 2011 meet, which began Jan. 5.
Officials at the South Florida track said wagering on Gulfstream’s live product on track is up 28.3%, from $2,519,723 last year to $3,233,966. Total wagering on Gulfstream’s live product rose 17.2%--from $29,203,934 last year to $34,226,794 this year—for the comparable five days.
Gulfstream opened on a Wednesday this year, so the figures take into consideration Wednesday through Sunday. In 2010, the track opened on a Sunday.
On the racing side, field size for the first five days averaged a strong 9.83 horses per race, according to The Jockey Club Information Systems. Purses averaged $367,140 a day for the first week of the meet.
Gulfstream officials said attendance is up 32.6%, from 22,008 last year to 29,184. The track has no turnstiles but uses things such as number of cars in parking lots and number of programs sold to determine the figure, officials said.
“It has been a sensational opening,” Timothy Ritvo, vice president of racing for Gulfstream parent company MI Developments, said in a statement released Jan. 10. “Our attendance is up, handle on our product is up across the country, and the racing and weather has been incredible. We’ve also had positive response to the low 15% takeout on our 50-cent pick five and on our 10-cent Rainbow 6.
“We spent considerable time this fall listening to our fans and asking them what they wanted, not only in terms of wagering, but their ontrack experience. We will remain steadfast in our commitment to improving the ontrack experience and in giving fans throughout the country the best racing programs. We’re optimistic this trend will continue, resulting in purse increases and lower takeouts.”