Sam Houston Race Park reported a 35% increase in live pari-mutuel handle and a 40% jump in attendance for its 31-day Thoroughbred meet, which ended March 12.
The Texas track reported total live handle of $3.7 million, up from $2.7 million for a 26-day meet in 2011. Average daily live handle was $120,161, up from $105,280 last year.
Purses averaged $162,061 a day this year versus $159,508 in 2011. Field size also increased, from 8.5 horses per race to 8.7, the track reported.
Average daily total handle, including money wagered on Sam Houston races at other outlets, wasn’t released.
Sam Houston reported a record opening-night crowd of 12,256 on Jan. 20, and attendance of 12,389 for camel and ostrich racing March 10.
“We are very pleased with the positive gains during the 2012 Thoroughbred meet,” Sam Houston president Andrea Young said. “Our feedback from both horsemen and fans has been excellent. Many of our promotions had a significant impact on attendance and created a great buzz on Friday and Saturday nights. This was an incredible start to the year.”
The daily purse payout was the highest in the history of Houston track, which opened in 1994.
“We felt that we offered our most competitive racing program ever given our increases in the daily purse structure and our stakes schedule during the 2012 Thoroughbred meet,” Sam Houston vice president of racing Eric Johnston said.
Sam Houston begins its Quarter Horse meet March 22.