Jessica Chapel / Railbird

One Way to Spin

The weather* continued to hammer Santa Anita on Monday, with total handle for the second day of the meet totaling $5,529,285, down 34.5% from the $8,443,017 taken in on the second day of last year’s meet. For the first two days of the meet, total handle is down 26.2% compared to last year. “There is no way to spin this,” Bill Christine quotes bettor Andy Assaro saying of the opening day decline. I’m a bit disappointed Santa Anita didn’t even try to give the numbers a positive gloss. (Were they not paying attention to Del Mar and NYRA this past summer?) After all, the first two days last year fell on Saturday (usually the best day of the week for handle anywhere) and Sunday, this year on Sunday and Monday. Comparing opening day Sunday 2010 to second day Sunday 2009 yields an increase of 38.7% in handle. Comparing the first two days this meet to Sunday and Monday 2009 delivers an increase of 22.2% in handle. A brazen publicist could really run with those percentages.

*There is no horseplayers’ boycott, comrades. In fairness, though, Monday was a snow day for much of the frozen northeast, with no simulcasting at several tracks, and no betting through NYRA’s online or telephone services. [Also, left out above, comparing Monday 2010 to Monday 2009 shows a modest decline of 2.3% in handle. That’s with one additional race on the card.]

11:20 AM Addendum: Here’s a question: How much of Santa Anita’s opening weekend interstate handle did NYC OTB account for in 2009?