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Old 09-06-2020, 08:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jeff P View Post
Not saying the economy didn't have anything to do with it. Obviously, it did.

Just looking at handle numbers for Saturday on Labor Day Weekend last year vs. this year, both Saratoga and Del Mar fared much better percentage-wise than Churchill did with the Derby:

SAR2019 $29.88M   
SAR2020 $23.11M

DMR2019 $13.73M   
DMR2020 $13.50M
If the bulk of the fall-off in Derby handle was economy related, I'm thinking both Saratoga and Del Mar would have seen a fall-off in handle similar to the Derby.

Imo, there's more going on here than just the economy.

I'm thinking moving the Derby to Labor Day weekend didn't work out that well for Churchill because:

Churchill's main competition (this year) was Saratoga and Del Mar as opposed to Belmont and a winding down Santa Anita meet. (Imo, much tougher company.)

Also missing this year were 100k plus fans on track at Churchill.

Perhaps more important, there's the tens of thousands of horseplayers across the US and Canada who normally spend Derby Day at a brick and mortar simulcast facility. For a lot of them (myself included) that wasn't an option this year.

For a lot of people, there's something about being there in person (even if 'there' happens to be your local track or otb) that translates to Derby Fever.

Imo, Derby Fever is what makes the Derby a special event.

I don't know about anyone else - but I did not experience much in the way of Derby Fever this year.


Are you not considering just how much money is bet on the Derby by non-hardcore players? Compare that to percentage of handle bet on Del Mar and Saratoga by non-hardcore players...

And therein will lie at least some (maybe a good portion) of the drop off in Derby handle...a TON more people bet the Derby every year than ever bet a race at Saratoga or Del Mar.

I would venture a guess that the hardcore players who make up a really good chunk of Del Mar and Saratoga handle aren't going to restrict their outlay as much as the everyday person who ONLY bets the Derby but didn't this year because of the economy.
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