Grim Results for Gulfstream Park Meet

Gulfstream Park ended its meet April 24 with handle and attendance numbers significantly down from a year ago. A meet-to-meet comparison with last year is difficult because the South Florida track ran a substantially longer meet this year--90 days versus 63 days in 2001.

For comparable days, however, the numbers were grim. Total handle was down 12.65% to $509,147,149 for the first 63 days of the 2002 meet compared with $582,873,349 for the 2001 meet. Average daily on-track handle was down 17.3% to $1,127,881 for the same period compared with $1,363,361 a year ago. Inter-state wagering improved 2.7% to an average of $432,788 from $421,280 in 2001, but out-of-state wagering fell 12.7% to an average $6,521,032 down from 2001's average of $7,467,317.

Scott Savin, Gulfstream Park's president, said he thought the meet was successful all things considered.

"Gulfstream's season was successful considering the prevalence of severe negative external factors including a weak tourist season in South Florida, a national recession, and a shortage of Thoroughbreds," he said.

The deregulation of racing dates in Florida allowed Gulfstream Park to run later, taking days that have recently belonged to Hialeah Park. The last 27 days of the meet, however, were substantially weaker. The average daily attendance was about 7,700 and the average on-track handle was about $670,676. The total handle for extended portion of the meet averaged about $5.67 million.

For the entire meet, attendance averaged 9,359 and on-track handle averaged $1,666,072, but the handle figures includes full-card simulcasting. Without simulcasting considered, the average on-track handle falls to about $997,000.