Spring-Winter Meet shows Santa Anita Increased Attendance but Less Handle
Santa Anita is over halfway through its 63-day meet, and attendance has been strong with a 9 percent increase through 35 days of racing compared to the same period of the 2014-15 meeting. The track had a huge opening day on December 26 with on-track attendance over 40,000, and the steady stream of racing fans has continued at the Arcadia track.
Santa Anita President Tom Ludt says, “We can attribute a great deal to our horsemen, who have been providing us with deep and competitive fields for our customers to wager on.”
Santa Anita offered free admission and parking opening day, and is currently offering free general admission and parking on Thursdays and Friday’s. With the Pick 6 carryover reaching $80,136 for Thursday, February 25, expect strong attendance and increased handle figures this weekend.
Business has remained brisk, however the on-track handle declined 4 percent from last year and the all-sources handle including simulcast and account-wagering sources was down 2 percent despite a big increase following the opening eight days of the meet.
Still, with the winter-spring meet continuing through April 10, vice president of marketing Nate Newby is optimistic the handle will increase and the track still has the meeting’s biggest days of racing ahead with the Santa Anita Handicap card on March 12 and the Santa Anita Derby card on April 9. Each of those races is worth $1 million.
The track has gained more fans through an emphasis on promotions to new racing fans according to Newby, and additional promotions including the handicapping contest on March 19-20 is expected to boost ontrack handle. .
Last year, Santa Anita ran from Dec. 26 to late June. This year, Los Alamitos will have a three-week meeting from April 14 to May 1 before Santa Anita runs a spring-summer meeting from May 5 to July 10.