California Handle: ‘Field Size Is The Biggest Factor, More Important Than Takeout’

by | 06.23.2017 | 6:52pm
Santa Anita Park

The Los Angeles Daily News' Art Wilson writes that the solution to generating handle on horse racing has been focused on takeout, ever since the advent of social media. The Stronach Group's chief operating officer Tim Ritvo agrees that takeout is “a little bit too high” ever since the California legislature passed SB1072 in 2010, increasing the takeout on exotic wagers.

“It's a tricky formula, though, to touch because the minute you cut your revenue, if you don't have the expanded growth, then you're in a deficit,” said Ritvo, who is currently overseeing operations at Santa Anita. “So we're definitely going to bring in an analyst, we're going to look at things like that for sure, and yeah, just by raising takeout to give people more purse money did not work when you look back at it now.”

Former Santa Anita president Jack Liebau disagrees, suggesting that racing's casual fans wouldn't even be able to define the term “takeout.”

“Field size is the biggest factor, more important than takeout,” Liebau argues. “The biggest driver in handle is field size. Anybody who wants to argue that doesn't know what the hell they're talking about. If somebody asked me if I'd rather have 12 horses in a $20,000 claimer than three horses in a Grade I race, as far as wagering is concerned, I would. You gotta have a product, you've got to give people some value. In order to have value, you've got to have field size.”

Read more at the Los Angeles Daily News.

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