Last week, despite horseplayer representation against it, the CHRB raised takeout at Los Alamitos by 2% in WPS and exotics - a more than 10% increase in prices.
The takeout increase went into effect last night. After receiving player emails and reading message boards all week (including a letter sent and posted here on the blog by a player) we suspected that that opening night handle would be off in some way. It appears some horseplayers sent a message to horse racing last night.
Last night the handle at the So Cal track was down 25%.
From a horseplayer:
Comparing tonight's numbers to last Thursday's numbers.....
Both nights had 8 races with basically equal quality and field size.
Tonight's total handle $577K
Last Thursday's total handle $767K
I'm sure they'll blame it on the weather and SA canceling.......BUT.......
On track handle was only down 21%
In-state handle was down 26%
Out of state and ADW handle was down 24%
If it was just the weather, why was non-Ca handle down 24%?
According to another Los Al player:
"I looked at Los Al's handle for all of 2009. The average Thursday handle for the 47 cards they ran was appx 756k
The single worst handle was on 6-25-09, 638,624
Only 10 of the 47 days were under 700k
So tonights handle was easily the worst in recent history."
It should be noted that new CHRB Chair Keith Brackpool was with HANA President Jeff Platt and other horseplayers against the increase. Via the DRF: "Brackpool was a vocal challenger to a proposal by Los Alamitos to increase takeout by 2 percent to help satellite locations that are suffering business declines. The track compromised by allowing the increase to lapse in early September. Brackpool was the only commissioner to vote against the plan. "It's a slippery slope," he said of raising takeout. "I don't like it."
As HANA members stated in our recently completed survey, takeout rates were their number one issue. They understand that in the long run, a takeout increase lowers handle, lowers pool size and decreases racings growth, and studies by Cummings and the University of Louisville (not to mention comprehensive empirical evidence) backs this up. Horseplayers want racing to grow, not recede. We commend horseplayers for energizing themselves on this issue.
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