After the first ten days of live racing, average daily handle at Hawthorne Racecourse is down.
So far this meet, the Cicero oval has handled $18,299,111, a daily average of $1,829,911. At this point last of the meet last year, 13 cards of racing had been held, with a total handle of $27,044,679, averaging $2,080,359/day. The average daily handle has fallen 12.1%. Average field size this year has been 8.64, up very slightly from 8.58 at this point last year.
Hawthorne made some changes coming into this meet. First, Sunday racing has been removed from the schedule. Second, $.20 minimums are now offered on all Triactors, Superfectas, Pick 3s, Pick 4s and Pick 5s. While most of these wagers have seen decreases similar to the total handle, Pick 4s are about even with last year and the Pick 5 has seen very significant growth, with it's average daily pool rising from $9,160 to $18,710, an increase of 104%.
The drop in handle may be explained by theories that high-handle players are beginning to leave the game. Field size can't be blamed, and one would normally assume that handle losses at Keeneland would lead to higher handles at other tracks. This does not appear to be the case.
Hawthorne races Wednesday through Saturday. Their average field size is actually slightly higher than Keeneland's currently is, and if you like low bet minimums they are worth checking out.