File Photo

PNGI Racetracks Report Strong March Handle

All-sources handle on live races was strong at Charles Town and Penn National.

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races April 2 reported a record monthly all-sources pari-mutuel handle of $29,426,572 in March, while sister track Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course also reported wagering gains for the month.

Charles Town in West Virginia topped the former one-month handle record of $26,558,179 by 10.8%. In addition, the March 2012 average daily handle of $1,279,416 for live racing was up 6.1% from the previous record of $1,205,474.

Charles Town is preparing for the April 14 Charles Town Classic, a $1 million grade II event that tops a six-stakes program.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our entire team for its efforts in helping us achieve this,” Charles Town director of racing operations Erich Zimny said. “Between the mutuels department and starting-gate crew doing their best to start races so that we avoid competing directly with other tracks, the valets operating efficiently, and our racing office filling races, even during difficult times, everyone shares in an accomplishment like this.”

Charles Town in March offered 207 races over 23 programs, according to The Jockey Club Information Systems. Field size averaged 7.8 horses per race, while purses for the month totaled $3.13 million for an average of $143,917.

From 2010-12, average daily handle on Charles Town racing in the first three months of the year has increased almost 40%, Zimny said.

Meanwhile, Penn National in Pennsylvania reported gains in ontrack and out-of-state wagering on live races in March.

Penn National conducted 19 live programs in March compared with 15 in 2011. Out-of-state export betting on the cards totaled $17,756,231, up 18.3% from $11,846,408 last March.

“Race secretary Dave Bailey and his team work hard at striving to maintain large fields for the players, and their efforts are reflected in the March handles," Penn National vice president of racing Mark Loewe said. “It’s an ongoing task, as we compete daily for horses in the most crowded racing region in the country."

Total live, export, and import (full-card simulcasts) wagering for March was $28,586,834, an increase of more than 27.6% from last year, officials said.

According to TJCIS Penn National ran 171 races in March with an average of 7.92 horses per race. Purses totaled $3.54 million for a daily average of $186,476.