Total handle rises for Churchill Downs Spring meeting

Total handle as well as average daily handle from the recently concluded 38-day Churchill Downs Spring Meet both increased compared to its 2012 meeting, according to figures obtained from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission via an open records request.

As is the track’s policy, Churchill Downs only reports handle and attendance figures from Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks day as well as other major race days. The handle information is provided by the CHRIMS pari-mutuel accounting system.

The total handle of $416,853,803.53  was up compared to $395,312,287.81 generated by a 38-day meeting in 2012. This increase came despite all-sources wagering for the entire Kentucky Derby card dropping off 1 percent  to $184,600,612.31 against the record handle of $186,980,450.09 generated a year earlier.

The average daily handle for the 2013 meeting came in at $10,969,836.94 – up slightly from $10,402,954.94 in 2012. Average daily handle excluding Kentucky Oaks and Derby day was $5,179,265.44 which was also up from the 2012 figure of $4,677,664.26.

Churchill Downs announced last week that average field for a race during  the Spring Meet was 7.78 horses, up from the 2012 average of 7.74.   Total race purses paid during the meet was $20,327,798, which compared to $20,890,859 in purses paid during the 2012 Spring Meet.  Daily purses over the 38 days of racing averaged $534,942, down from the daily purse average of $549,759 a year earlier.

“Despite a few challenges posed by rainy weather, our Spring Meet at Churchill Downs produced many wonderful experiences, performances and memories,”  Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack, said in a statement last week.  “We thank our fans, horsemen and employees for working together to make this meet special from Opening Night, through Kentucky Derby and Oaks Week and on through our closing weekend.  Now we’ll get to work on our new Homecoming Meet and the new experiences and racing opportunities this exciting new meet will provide for our fans and horsemen.”