The Horseplayers Association of North America has rated Gulfstream Park 15th out of the 65 tracks studied in North America.
Cumulative Takeout Score: 2.38
Field Size: 8.7
Wager Variety Score: 1.0
Best Bet: Exacta Takeout
Total HANA Score: 2.098
Gulfstream provides not only exciting racing, and good field quality to its patrons, it also provides horseplayer value. In 2009 it has already been noted that field size is up from 2008 as management opted for racing one less day a week, and there is a resulting handle bump. From ESPN's Bill Finley, "Gulfstream is averaging 10.06 horses per race, a remarkably good number in an era where horses races so infrequently that the five-horse field is becoming an unfortunate but indelible part of the game. Through the first 12 days of racing in 2008, they had 9.19 horses per race. Even more significant is the upgrade in quality. With fewer races being run each week, the ones largely being eliminated are the lowest-level events. In 2008, 52 of the first 112 races at the meet were either starter allowances or claimers where the price tag was less than $35,000. This year, through the first 112 races, that number is down to 36."
From Gulfstream's January 24th press release: "Through the first 14 days of the 2009 meeting, on the eve of the ultra‐popular Sunshine Millions, Gulfstream Park recorded an 8.6% increase in “live,” or on‐track handle while also showing a 5.4% bump in all‐sources handle."
If this continues, it appears that Gulfstream is sure to crack the HANA top ten in 2009.
I don't think there is a more dysfunctional racetrack facility in the country than this one. There are only about 900 outdoor seats with a view of the track and the indoor dining areas on the second and third floors provide no view of live racing unless you have one of the few tables by the windows. Half of the building is situated past the finish line, where no one wants to be at a racetrack. They have added some outdoor seating this year (benches, picnic tables, etc.), but those have no sight lines for live racing. With few exceptions, fans at Gulfstream are only able to view racing on television monitors.
On major race days that attract large crowds, such as those now are - 12,000-15,000 tops, the place is downright miserable. Patrons can barely move through the shoebox-sized structure, concession and betting lines are long, SAM machines are jammed and the employees seem to take pleasure in cursing at the customers. There is really no suitable solution for bettering Gulfstream as a racetrack other than implosion.
Oh God, can't you tell us who #1 is already, the suspense is killing me.
Gulfstream's win-place-show takeout is 15%, one of the lowest in the country.
Considering this, I don't understand why you have the best bet listed as the 20% exacta takeout.
Thanks for your opine on GP qualitatively. One of the things we avoided in the list is ontrack experience as a measuring stick. Next year, or perhaps for another list we plan on surveying members on the on track experience, and what track is doing what. I think it is good to hear constructive criticism from patrons of the live tracks across the country, and I think we can all be of service by telling the tracks what we like and do not like so they can improve.
I changed that as per your request. The ex takeout is quite good, as well, compared to many who are well over 22%, though. GP is not a bad place to play in terms of take.
Just a note for commenters. 99% are proper. For the small percentage of people who troll we do monitor comments on the blog. If you are going to say "this is a stupid track" or make a comment like that, we simply will not post it. There are plenty of places to anonymously post such things, such as chat boards. We do not allow it here.
Thanks for reading, and thank you for following and commenting on the series.
Frank Stronach needlessly wrecked one of the world's premier live racing venues, replacing it with a sparsely-attended casino. All the criticism aimed at him is richly deserved.
The only hope for South Florida racing is if that Dunce who wrecked Hialea would sell it to H. Minor. He is the only person who "gets it" in a great game ruined by 40 years of dopey caretakers.
Perhaps you need to distinguish between track ratings for simulcast players and the live racing experience. I have no problem with Gulfstream's racing this year (2008 was another matter entirely when the import from Thistledown was racing secretary) and play the track regularly online. But the on-track experience there is just lousy, except for the fine Florida weather.
Thanks for the comment A.
As we mentioned in our preview and a couple times here, we only looked at hard data. It is opinion on a lot of these things, and opinions (especially with horseplayers) are pretty stout! We did not want to get into that at all. Anyone will be able to use the algorithm should they want to check the rankings.
Some of the tracks in the top twenty are small, some might have a poor track experience, some might not have the best field quality. The rankings were simply done on value based on our factors. It took all the passion out of it, and we thought that best.
We are looking at doing a survey next year. Our membership is growing and is passionate. We want to hear opinion, and if we can get a survey up with good questions, measure it, and get it done, I would bet it would be more in line with what you propose. Only so many hours in the day though. We dont get paid much here :)
Gulfstream's WPS takeout is 17% NOT 15% as asserted by another post here. Florida tracks have the unique capability of being able to raise/lower their takeout rates without state regulatory or racing board approvel. As such it makes their WPS rate about average.
You had it right the first time. 20% takeout on exacta based on your scoring algorithm earns a "B". 17% takeout on WPS earns a "C".
Thanks for making me open that spreadsheet and look :)
17 it is.
Get a Clue..emBAREassing...
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