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May 27, 2011

Poor weather blamed for lower Pimlico numbers


Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - The numbers are in for Pimlico's recently completed 2010 spring meet and they are not pretty. The historic track reports that betting totals were down 22 percent from last year.

"When you lose more than a third of your turf racing because of weather during a brief meeting the disappointment is played out in the numbers," Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. "It is a given, grass racing equals bigger fields and a larger handle."

Because of bad weather turf races were switched to the main track on 11 of the 29 live racing days. The average daily handle dropped from $6.26 million to $4.87 million. The meet consisted of 29 live racing dates and 21 simulcast days. This year there were nine more live racing days than in 2010.

On the positive side, Pimlico attendance rose 10 percent as there was an increase on Preakness Stakes Day. The 2011 Preakness Stakes attracted 107,398 fans compared to 95,760 last year.

"It is a positive outcome that the inventive strategies we have employed worked on Preakness day," added Chuckas. "Finding a way to get the folks who come out on the third Saturday in May to come back this fall is a major focus as we move forward to build our business."

For the 13 race Preakness card there was an all-sources handle of more than $76 million, seventh highest for Pimlico's center piece attraction.

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