Fair Grounds Posts Declines in Attendance and Handle

Fair Grounds reported across-the-board declines in attendance and handle for its 89-day meet that ended Monday.

The all-sources handle for the New Orleans track exceeded the $400 million mark for the third consecutive year reaching $400.6 million, but the total fell 6.9% from last year's record handle of $430.2 million. The average daily total handle was $4,501,143 compared with $4,889,015 a year ago.

On-track handle fell nearly 13% to $22,764,199, an average of $255,777 per day, compared with last year's total on-track handle of $25,842,122, an average of $293,660. Attendance also fell nearly 11% to 196,151, an average of 2,204 people per day.

The losses in on-track attendance and handle were attributed to an increase in opportunities to bet on the races away from the track. Fair Grounds opened a new off-track betting parlor and is one year into its telephone account wagering and online wagering services.

In other news, trainer Steve Asmussen won the meet's training title with 68 wins, which is the highest number achieved in the last 16 years. The riding title went to Eddie Martin Jr. and leading owner honors went to Nelson Bunker Hunt who had 21 victories. Martin and Hunt both claimed their first Fair Grounds titles.