Churchill Downs Plummets in Re-Released HANA Track Ratings

by | 04.12.2014 | 9:41am
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The Horseplayers Association of North America has re-released their 2014 Track Ratings.

“Although we normally release the ratings only once in April, and then update new numbers on our master sheet on our website as we crowdsource, we felt it very important to update the final ratings this year,” said HANA President Jeff Platt. “The recent increase in Churchill takeouts – win takeout up from 16% to 17.5% and exotic takeout up from 19% to 22%, as reported in the Courier Journal – needed to be reflected as a service to horseplayers.”

Churchill Downs, which originally ranked 5th, fell to 22nd in the 2014 ratings. Other Kentucky racetracks like Keeneland (1st), Kentucky Downs (2nd) and Turfway Park (9th), were all in the top ten.

The HANA Racetrack Ratings are based on an algorithm using factors which are indicative of horseplayer betting value, gleaned from both empirical and academic study. Key factors including takeout rate, field size, wager variety, pool size, and signal distribution are compared track to track, weighted, and a final composite score is given. Horseplayer and Industry Analyst Mike Dorr, a graduate of Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management supervised this years algorithm.

For full Ratings coverage including statistics, analysis, interviews, and a list of all tracks please visit, “Horseplayer Monthly” at this link.

The master sheet has also been updated and it's available here.

  • Bob C

    Churchill ranked at 22, Arlington at 25, Fair Grounds at 31 and Calder at 46. Does that sound like CDI is doing at good job? They need to toss Evans out by the seat of his pants. CDI has declined dramatically during his watch.

    • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

      If CDI turns a profit based on its casino dealings and makes the investors money, then as far as they are concerned Evans is doing a great job. They could care less about the effect on racing because they are a for profit entity. Its really sad to see.

  • Andrew A.

    Good for the Horseplayers Association and good for the Paulick report for posting it.

  • Bob

    Los Alamitos Race Track rated 63rd worst race track out of 64. Nice job to the 2nd
    worst run track in North America !!

  • Kris

    No calls for a boycott at Churchill? I guess an offending track has to be located in California for a boycott to be called.

    • Andrew A.

      It’s being called for big time. Twitter went nuts over it and quite a few people including me cancelled our Twin Spires accounts. People should stop betting Churchill and all other tracks owned by Churchill Downs. If you can’t NOT BET completely then limit your play on Derby day to the late P4 and the Derby. I usually bet all races on Oaks and Derby Day but this year I will only play the late P4 and the Derby. The idea is to drop Derby day handle by 5%. For the rest of the meet 20% or more down would send a message.

      A lot of other tracks are watching including California where they would like to raise the take on the 14% take P5. If no stand is taken against this then we will see more takeout hikes.

      When we boycotted Ca. in 2011 a lot of tracks around the country noticed and lowered take on a lot of wagers.

      • Kris

        Andrew,
        It’s good to know that there is at least an unofficial response to CDI. I stopped giving them my money several years ago and I have to think that if a lot of the big spenders would withhold their money from CDI – especially on Derby Day – then CDI might just get the message. I’m just disappointed that there hasn’t been an organized response to CDI and NYRA. I am referring to that takeout scandal a few years back at NYRA.

    • jack

      Would like to see HANA call for an official boycott of Churchill Downs. Would like to see if TVG or HRTV cover the boycott on air.

  • David

    Here’s the thing, CD try as they might can’t get alternative gaming allowances in KY.
    They’ve enlisted every public they can think of – rich, poor, Horsemen, business community, etc. – and nothing. So why not let the betting public have a shot at getting some attention on an issue that so far has fallen on death (very death) ears. The move will serve up slightly less handle, slightly more purse revenue and a bit more for the track. In the meantime the players might make enough noise to be heard in yet another two-year cycle of waiting. Nothing ventured,
    nothing gained. CD could care less about a horseplayers’ alliance or some silly ratings thing.

    • PTP

      Hmmmm

      So “Churchill raised prices on a game that’s failing, which will make customers mad, not bet them, and this is a positive because mad customers might bring slots to Churchill.”

      Interesting theory.

      PTP

  • David

    Yes, the group has a worthy function. The words I suggest out of CD’s mouth would be their own. In fact they are counting on HANA to loudly voice their opposition at elevating prices in a declining market. CD’s response will be only that it the statehouse that has forced their hand to remain at least break even in racing operations. In the meantime, they and purses enjoy a short term dividend.

    • PTP

      Then the statehouse says “Hey Churchill, Kentucky Downs lowered takeout when they didn’t have to, and tripled their handle.”

      Game, set, match state house.

      PTP

      • Caroline

        Nonetheless, it would be comforting to believe there was sufficiently sophisticated brain power behind the move to conceive of an actual “strategy”.

      • David

        Modeling doesn’t work so well in this game. The audience is experiencing a steady decline and lowering the price (IMO) isn”t the ticket to do in macro what KD did in micro. Regardless of the ideal hold, the industry had better figure out how to distribute the return to more than is now the case; it not, it’ll be game, set and match, everyone loses.

  • jazz mania

    CHDN stock down from 94$ a couple weeks ago to 85$ this AM. Usually their stock bumps up in price as derby fever hype gets rolling. You can bet that the board will have management out on their asses if that trend continues. I’ve already been boycotting the wager machines at the fair grounds as more than half choke when trying to insert a ticket or cash anyway.

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