Laurel Singing Rainy Day Blues

Laurel Park came out of a sloppy 48-day summer meet with across-the-board decreases in handle and attendance. Wet conditions forced the Maryland track to cancel 56 turf races and suffer short fields on the races it did run, according to Jim Mango, Laurel's chief operating officer.

Total handle for the meet dropped 5% to $155,350,432, down from $163,545,658 in 1999. The in-state handle dropped 4.4% to $96,374,624 and out-of-state wagering on Laurel's race fell nearly 6% to $55,235,897. Besides the rain, in-state handle was hurt by the closing of three off-track betting parlors. Attendance also suffered. Average daily attendance was 8,890, a 4.3% decrease from 1999's summer meet.