Jim Linscott

Purses, Handle, Field Size Up at Hoosier Park

Hoosier Park reported increases in purses, handle, and field size this year.

Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Indiana reported strong across-the-board gains for its 2010 meet that ended Oct. 24.

For 63 racing programs, the first of which was held July 30, total pari-mutuel handle was $48.1 million, up 8% from $44.6 million for 63 days in 2009, track officials said. Ontrack handle on live racing averaged $40,590 per day, up 16% from $34,875 last year.

Thoroughbred purses totaled $15,186,287 this year, up 28.2% from $11,847,790 in 2009, according to The Jockey Club Information Systems. Hoosier Park has a casino with slot machines that produce revenue for purses and breed development.

Average daily Thoroughbred purses of $241,052 in 2010 increased from $188,060 in 2009.

Of the $15.1 million in purses, $6.8 million was for Indiana-bred races, up 13.7% from $6 million in 2009.

Quarter Horse races were held during the meet with roughly $2 million in purses paid over 90 races.

Field size for Thoroughbred races averaged 8.78, up from 8.34 last year, according to TJCIS. Except for stakes, Hoosier Park limits field size to 10 horses per race.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better meet,” Jeffrey Smith, general manager of racing at Hoosier Park, said in a statement. “To be up 16% in ontrack wagering and 8% in our offtrack business at a time when most racetracks are experiencing significant declines is phenomenal. The quality of our racing product was the best it has ever been, and the numbers reflect that.

“Being able to host a horse such as Lookin At Lucky for our (grade II) Indiana Derby really brought national attention to our racing program. Our Indiana Derby set several records, including handle for the day that was more than double compared to the previous year’s event.”

Higher purses this year allowed Hoosier Park to attract higher-quality horses, many of which are based in neighboring Kentucky.