Santa Anita: ‘Strong start’ to meet with across-the-board gains

by | 01.05.2012 | 7:48am
Santa Anita's opening day crowds are betting less money on average

Santa Anita Park, which opened its winter/spring meeting with an on-track crowd of 44,579 on Dec. 26, posted significant across the board gains through the first six days of its 79-day meet according to racetrack officials. Through six days, on-track attendance is up 21 percent, while on-track handle is up 11 percent.

“Our opening day crowd was the biggest it's been since 1994 and our pari-mutuel figures have been up on-track and across the country,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “We're obviously very pleased to be off to such a strong start and we want to sincerely thank our fans and horsemen for making this possible. It's great to be able to renew acquaintances with so many of them and we've also seen a lot of new people here in the first week as well. We can't thank them enough and we want all of them to know that customer service continues to be a huge priority for us here at Santa Anita.

“We've been lucky with the weather and our field size has been good. We've been able to average nine horses per race and there's no question that has provided better gambling opportunities for our players.”

In addition to large on-track gains, Santa Anita's out-of-state handle skyrocketed, showing an 18 percent increase over a year ago. Southern California Off Track Wagering Inc. (SCOTWinc) handle showed a 10 percent increase and all sources Santa Anita handle was up 14 percent through week-one.

“By any accounting, these are substantial increases,” said Haines. “Our long range weather forecast is good and we've got good momentum. We have a number of promotions slated for the month of January and we've got a solid stakes schedule ahead as well. We hope to sustain this momentum and we'll continue to market and promote very aggressively.”

Santa Anita begins a four-day race week on Thursday with first post time at 1:00 p.m. The Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds and the Grade III, $150,000 San Pasqual Stakes for older horses will highlight Saturday's card.

For more racing and promotional information or to make dining and seating reservations, go to, or call (626) 574-RACE.

  • The_Knight_Sky

    >> In addition to large on-track gains, Santa Anita’s out-of-state handle
    skyrocketed, showing an 18 percent increase over a year ago <<

    This is yet another press release out of California touting handle increases over a bar that was set very low the year before.

    Since California is a land of “mandates” it should be mandatory that every future press release includes comparison of handle figures today versus 2005 and 2000.  Only then will we get a clarified picture of the business of racing on the west coast.

  • David

    To your point numbers make spinning pretty elementary as this business reports results against a single, like cycle loaded with all sorts of aberrations.  But, can’t blame them for being excited over a good start.

  • The_Knight_Sky

    Lately tracks who do well early in the meet seems to be putting out Press Releases that are nothing more then propaganda pieces.   We’ve had that coming out of New York, Gulfstream and Turfway Parks in recent weeks.

    But each and every one of them are saying …
    “We had 45 degrees for the high temperature today January 5th which was 6 degrees warmer than last year.” 

    That is a short-term statistic that does NOT proclaim a long term climate change.

    In other words these press releases that fail to embrace the overall picture,  are not worth the bandwidth it is presented on.  If the writers of these track press releases want to make an indisputable and emphatic point, simply compare and present the numbers from a 5 year vantage point. 

    I think that is a reasonable request that serves the racing public well.

  • David

    All valid points, of course but doubt your request will be accommodated any more than I will for companies whose stock I’m a not-so-proud owner that beat chests over earnings improving over 20 quarters of decline.  Think it was (Jack) Welch that said “down, down, down, down, up ain’t exactly a growth biz you want in”.

  • Indulto

    Is the 14% figure attributable to Xpressbet’s new selective rebate program for “elite” players?

  • Jeff Zielinski

    Down 20%, then up 11%. “We are very pleased.”

    Do these spin doctors think anyone actually believes anything they say, or are they just so happy to still be collecting a paycheck that they don’t care what nonsense comes out of their mouth?

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