Friday, January 05, 2007

Maryland Updates

As expected, Anna "Rosie" Napravnik is a finalist for the 2006 Eclipse award for apprentice jockeys. She finished the year with 300 victories worth $6.4 million, and all four meet titles in Maryland. Any other year and she would be a shoe in for the award, but Julien Leparoux had an unbelievable year with 403 wins and earnings of $12.5 million. Rosie, Eclipse award or not, the fans in Maryland love you!

The Maryland Jockey Club is reporting that total wagering for last year had improved over 2005. All-sources handle totaled $960.2 million, an increase of more than $64 million (or 7.2 percent) over 2005 figures, and the average daily handle from all sources rose more than 15 percent to $4.1 million despite 11 fewer days of live racing at Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park. The largest crowd ever to watch a Maryland sporting event, 118,402, attended the Preakness, marking the sixth straight year of six-figure attendance. Betting for the day totaled more than $87.5 million, the third largest in the race's 131-year history. Of that number, $56.4 million was wagered on the Preakness itself. Figures for the Laurel Park winter meeting, the Pimlico spring meet and the Laurel fall meeting all showed overall increases. The average daily handle was up nearly 8 percent at the Laurel session that concluded Dec. 21.

These small increases are a double edged sword for Maryland racing. First, the Maryland Jockey Club was able to increase the handle with fewer racing days. I would hate to see them use that model as the justification for an additional cut in days. Secondly, the state legislature and anti-gambling groups will use these statistics to show that good marketing and not slots are needed to improve the racing in Maryland. I am glad to see these increases, but I am also very afraid of how they may be interpreted.

No comments:


blogger templates | Make Money Online