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Old 09-06-2020, 10:57 PM   #15
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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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.


I agree with everything you said, the bulk of the downturn in their numbers was the moving of the date, no in person and a very small OTB type presence.

That being said if you look at Saratoga this past month, the way it had been trending year over year, and even back to a few months ago, it was no shock it turned out to be such a bad day.

I have no idea how Del Mar is doing, I have been too busy to follow and have seen less on social media about their numbers. I would expect they are just as bad as everywhere else the past 6 weeks.
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