When handle is down this racing year - especially at CDI owned racetracks like Arlington and Churchill Downs - industry insiders like to chalk it up to 'field size losses'. Perhaps this is a way to buttress your boycott of such properties, we don't really know. But we do know it does not have the merit some would want it to.
A point of fact. Here is the Arlington Park numbers from this year when field size was a standard deviation above where it was last year:
Yes, despite what you may read in the press, you are reading the number correctly.
2013 field size sample: 7.54 horses per race, 2014 field size sample: 8.27 horses per race, for an increase of 0.73 horses per race.
Handle is still down over 9%.
Churchill Downs, outside special event days, has lost 0.62 horses per race this meet - that's less than the number Arlington has gained in the above sample. Handle is down 26.90% overall, or over 20% per race.
For field size to be "the" issue, the above numbers would not be possible.
Or, in common sense terms, if field size was "the" issue, you'd have to believe this:
"I am betting Churchill Downs more because they raised takeout and I make less money when I win"
"I am betting Churchill Downs less because they raised takeout and I make less money when I win"
One of those statements makes logical sense and one of them doesn't. It's pretty clear what's been happening, and we expect, over time, others will catch on to it, too.