Indiana Downs Posts 28% Hike in Total Handle

Indiana Downs Posts 28% Hike in Total Handle
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Indiana Downs reported handle growth during its 2007 Thoroughbred meet, including a 28.71% increase in total wagering on the live product. Total handle has more than doubled since 2005.

The 48-day meet, which spanned April 27-July 3, also produced a one-day handle record of $1,769,498 established on a Wednesday twilight program in June.

“It was a huge success,” Indiana Downs general manager Jon Schuster said. “We were very pleased with the meet and the double-digit growth. I didn’t expect in year five to have this kind of sustained growth.”

Total wagering for the meet reached $47.15 million, good for a daily average of $982,291. Compared with $36.63 million for 49 days in 2006, the track posted a 28.71% increase. The primary advances came in the simulcast arena; the Indiana Downs product posted a 30.56% increase--$44.68 million in 2007 compared with $34.25 million last season.

On-track live handle in 2007 was up 2.41% to $51,363 a day.

“We were able to get into more places this year,” Schuster said. “We were also able to get into familiar markets more often. Our product is really gaining acceptance in the marketplace.”

The track made significant gains by exporting its signal to the New York City Off-Track Betting system for the first time. It also saw increased exposure in California and Florida, two markets where the signal was taken on a limited basis in 2006.

After successfully experimenting with twilight programs last season, Indiana Downs offered twilight racing Mondays through Wednesdays this season. The change provided venues in some markets with content at a time when the menu offers fewer options.

“The post time placement has been significant,” Schuster said. “It also helped that we were able to keep our average starters very high.”

Races at Indiana Downs attracted an average 8.93 starters per contest this spring, down slightly from the 9.02 starters per race in 2006. The track's turf course, used often on weekday twilight cards, has been a drawing card.

Earlier this year, the state legislature and governor gave the OK for slot machines at Indiana Downs and Hoosier Park. Both tracks are working on slots plans but it isn't known when the devices will begin operating.

Victor Lebron was leading rider with 61 winners and earnings of $608,317. Tommy Pompell finished second in the standings with 50 victories while Rodney Prescott, two-time leading rider at the track, was third with 40 wins.

Ralph Martinez again won the training title, this time with 31 wins. Runners from the Martinez stable garnered $212,595 in purse earnings. Kim Hammond collected 21 victories to finish second in the standings, and Barbara McBride sent out 18 winners, good for third among trainers.

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