Monday, 2 June 2014

Successful Opener at Georgian; a Look at Grand River

Summer officially started for the Ontario Racing Alliance last night as Georgian Downs kicked off their 2014 season. A decent sized crowd of fans showed up to enjoy a relaxed night of racing on what was a gorgeous evening.

Threes A Crowd (5) narrowly defeats
A Boy Named Suuzz (3) in the Georgian opener
      When compared to last year's opening night, Georgian did great yesterday. In 2013 there were 12 races run. Bettors put $101,060 through the windows, averaging $8,421 per race. This year, with 10 races, the handle was $149,230, an average of $14,923 per race. Total handle was up 47.6% and handle per race was up 77.2%. Those are significant increases, especially considering that the fields were fairly short, averaging at 7.7 horses per race. $149,230 still isn't a huge number, it would be nice to see Georgian doing $200,000, but the increases are certainly a good sign. It will be interesting to compare last night's handle to the upcoming Tuesday and Saturday cards from the Innisfil oval.

Fans in the Georgian grandstand
     Last night's card also marked another interesting step forward for the Ontario Racing Alliance, with Georgian installing AmTote wagering machines. AmTote has been at Woodbine & Mohawk for quite a while now, as well as all WEG teletheatres, and will soon be in all the Ontario Alliance tracks. Bettors will be able to play at Woodbine and cash their ticket at Georgian. For more info on the AmTote expansion, click here.

Horses round the clubhouse turn at Georgian
Grand River, the most player-friendly B track in Ontario, kicks off their season tonight. In case you weren't paying attention last year, Grand River lowered a lot of takeout rates in 2013. To be specific, WPS and Exactor went from 21.9% to 16.95% and 20.5%, respectively. Daily Double was lowered from 21.9% to 15%. Pick 4 is also now 15%, down from 24.9%. Those decreases total 23.15%. On top of that, the Elora track added a 15% Super Hi-5. Compare that to Western Fair, the most popular B track in the province, who still charge 21.4% on WPS and 26.3% on Exactors and Doubles, and you realize that Grand River is the track you really should be playing.

     Last year, Grand River's total handle increased 11.5%. Hopefully this year, the momentum will stay strong. Tonight's card has 10 races and an average field size of 8.8. If Georgian Downs could get their handle up 47.6%, Grand River should certainly be able to post some solid numbers. I will likely be playing a few races tonight, so keep up with my Twitter to see how I'm doing.

    I wish Grand River the best of luck with their upcoming season. They are a track that took action to get bettors interested, and they deserve to have success. I hope to see you all playing some great Canadian racing tonight at Grand River.

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