Courtesy Remington Park

Remington Park: Purses Up, Handle Down

Remington Park realizes record purses and increased attendance, but declining handle.

Remington Park in Oklahoma recently completed its 20th season of Thoroughbred racing with a record purse disbursement and increased attendance, but followed national trends with a decline in most wagering statistics.

The Oklahoma City-area track, which is owned by Magna Entertainment Corp., reported both total and average daily purses rose for the third consecutive Thoroughbred season. Overall, $14,025,467 was distributed, a 9.6% increase of $1,226,017, when compared to 2007. Daily average purses of $209,335 were also up 12.8% against last year’s average.

“While when economic situations are forcing many racing jurisdictions to reduce their purse structures for horsemen, Remington Park has managed increases in this vital area for success,” Remington Park vice president and general manager Scott Wells said in a news release.

Remington Park's overall attendance of 432,324 represented an increase for the fifth consecutive Thoroughbred season, a run that started in 2004. The average daily attendance of 6,453 was 10.7% higher than the average posted for the 2007 season.

The track’s 20th anniversary celebration on Sept. 1 produced the top crowd of the season when 15,322 fans took part in the festivities. The gathering was the largest crowd for a Thoroughbred racing date at Remington Park in more than 14 years, since a wallet day promotion drew 17,552 on Feb. 19, 1994.

Wagering totals and averages were mixed in the various statistical categories for the Remington Park season, which offered two fewer racing days in 2008 from the 69 offered the year before.

Remington Park’s all-sources handle (including that on imported simulcasting both on-track and at OTBs) was $51,258,965 for an average of $765,059 per race day, down 7.1% compared to the 2007 average.

Total wagering on Remington Park racing was $40,168,350 for a daily average of $599,528, down 9% from 2007. On-track wagering slid for the first time in two years with $4,946,564 wagered overall, an average of $73,829 per racing card, a decrease of 5.8% compared to the 2007 average.

Handle generated through the export of Remington Park racing to other wagering venues was $34,495,970 for the season, an average of $514,856 per racing program. The average is lower by 9.9% compared to the 2007 export average.

The OTB network posted wagering gains on incoming full-card simulcast racing from other venues with $5,081,432 bet for a daily average of $75,842, an increase of 5.2% from 2007. Remington Park betting on incoming simulcast action during live race days was down a slight 2.7% as the overall total of $6,009,183 averaged $89,689 played per day.

Average field size increased to 9.6 from 9.3 a year ago, as 5,884 horses competed in 614 races during the 2008 meet.