Laurel's Total Handle Up, In-State Figures Decline Slightly

Laurel Park reported wagering increased 6% to total $71.8 million from all sources during the recently concluded 22-day summer meet at Laurel Park. A total $67.7 million was wagered during the 22-day meet in 2002. Wagering on exported simulcast signals rose 20.4% to $26.1 million, compared with $21.7 million one year ago.

A total of $6.4 million was wagered in-state on the Laurel races, for a daily average of $298,500, down 3.8% from the $300,900 average last year.

The Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Laurel and Pimlico, did not release attendance figures for the meet.

"The most encouraging aspect of our results is that our in-state business has remained relatively constant," said Lou Raffetto, chief operating officer of the Maryland Jockey Club. "We were not able to use the turf course nearly as much as in 2002 and the fact that our in-state business was still relatively on par with last year is a good sign."

Field sizes averaged 7.9 runners per race for the meet, matching the 2002 number. During the 2003 meet there were 32 races on the turf, compared to 55 a year ago.