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Hoosier average handle increased 28% in 2020

November 27, 2020

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The 2020 live racing season at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, which concluded on Saturday, Nov. 21, produced encouraging gains on many fronts as well as sizable gains in all-sources handle during the shortened 111-day harness racing season. 

At a time when tracks are struggling with the status quo of maintaining handle from year to year, Harrah’s Hoosier Park has bucked the trend with a sensational all-sources handle increase of over 35 percent during the 2020 live harness racing season from the previous year’s numbers. 

Total handle for all of 2020 was $70,967,441, up 35.5 percent as compared with the same 105 like-days plus the first six days of the 2019 meet. 2020 average daily handle was $639,346 (111 days) as compared to 2019 average daily handle of $497,460 (160 days) and up 28.5 percent.

In a continued effort to provide the most attractive racing product to bettors everywhere, Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino placed a focus on all encompassing marketing efforts and an increase in overall quality of racing. Race cards featured fuller fields over the previous year’s numbers, averaging 8.8 betting interests per race this season compared to 8.47 in 2019. In addition, Hoosier Park averaged 13.9 races per day compared to 12.5 races per day in the previous year.

“The 2020 live racing season proved to be an unequivocal success as witnessed by the record-breaking average daily handle,” Harrah’s Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager of Racing, Rick Moore noted. “This achievement would not have been possible without the good judgment and foresight of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission and the Indiana Standardbred Association which cooperatively and proactively assisted Harrah’s Hoosier Park and making it possible for the 111-day season to be conducted in a safe and healthy manner all the while producing a record-breaking season on many fronts.”

“I would also like to thank our Indiana horsemen for their unwavering cooperation in putting together a most competitive product on the track each and every night. And, a special thank you to all Harrah’s Hoosier Park team members for executing a flawless Breeders Crown weekend!”

One of the most anticipated weekends on the 2020 live racing calendar was in October as Harrah’s Hoosier Park welcomed the 37th edition of the $6 million Breeders Crown events back to the Anderson oval. The Breeders Crown saw notable success while placing the national spotlight on Harrah’s Hoosier Park, as the best in the sport of harness racing took to the racetrack on Friday, Oct. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 31.

The 2020 Breeders Crown at Harrah’s Hoosier Park pulled in its largest handle in the 27-year history with a total of $2,639,903 wagered on the 15-race card Saturday, Oct. 31. The previous track record for handle on a single program was set during the 2017 Breeders Crown at $2,063,985. The 2020 edition was also a two-night record for the track with a total of $4,297,864 wagered on Breeders Crown Championships compared to a two-night total of $3,837,869 wagered in 2017. Additionally, the first dead heat in the history of the Breeders Crown was recorded in the Breeders Crown final for two-year-old pacing colts and the $409.80 win mutuel yielded by Sandbetweenmytoes in the Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old pacing colts was the highest ever in the 37-year history of the Breeders Crown.

In addition to the Breeders Crown events, Hoosier Park hosted Grand Circuit racing action six different times this season and welcomed the top-rated horses in North America to compete in races like the $160,000 Monument Circle, the $150,000 Caesars Trotting Classic, the $140,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, and the $100,000 Nadia Lobell.

As with the Breeders Crown, the bettors came out in full force throughout the entire season as a total of five race days produced over $1 million in handle—the most in any one season in the history of Harrah’s Hoosier Park. 

Harrah’s Hoosier Park also witnessed one of its’ fastest season to date as 13 track records were equaled or re-established this season. Pacing sensations Little Rocket Man and Cattlewash equaled the overall track record of 1:47.2, which is now co-held by five horses. 

Trace Tetrick led all forces on the track and took home the 2020 leading driver title with 277 victories and accumulated over $3.1 million in purse earnings throughout the season. Tetrick, who led the driver standings from start to finish, earned his ninth leading driver title at Harrah’s Hoosier Park in 2020. Trainer Tyler George earned his first leading trainer title at Harrah’s Hoosier Park after his stable recorded 73 wins on the season.

Live racing dates for the 2021 season at Harrah’s Hoosier Park have been submitted and will be reviewed by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission at their December meeting. (Hoosier Park)

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