The weather was against them, but the 2018 Oaklawn Park handle has reportedly improved by just over 11 percent. The park was able to complete 55 of their 57 scheduled days and missed two in the dead of winter due to weather. Still, the legendary track was able to amass a total handle of $209,695,403.
The daily 2018 Oaklawn Park handle was $3,812,644 and improved by 15 percent over the previous season. There was also an increased export handle of 15 percent to $175,125,149. All of this came despite the bad weather that rocked the midwest, and the rest of the country.
“Despite missing two days due to weather in January and 16 inches of rain in February, we are extremely excited to have ended the meet with a double-digit increase in handle,” noted general manager Wayne Smith of Oaklawn. “It’s a testament to the great product we were able to put on the track this season. I want to thank the owners, trainers and jockeys who put on the greatest show in racing. I also want to thank our entire management team and staff for such an incredible season. Most of all, a huge thank you goes out to our fans for their continued support.”
Smith went on to credit the horse men who helped build up a promising season and a record setting 2018 Oaklawn park handle. “From start to finish, the quality of our racing had never been better,” Smith said. “Our regulars all had strong meets, but it was also great to see trainers like Doug O’Neill and Norm McKnight come in and find success as well as jockeys Gary Stevens, David Cohen, and David Cabrera.”
This is a fantastic bit of news for Thoroughbred racing overall. Handle has been up across the board at most of the major parks and this indicates two things: the intrigue in the sport is growing and access to all-sources wagering is getting easier and improving by leaps and bounds. Forward momentum is everything in this sport and it seems to be trending in the right direction overall.
2018 Kentucky Derby prep races such as the Rebel and Arkansas Derby were big reasons for the jump. It seems that the marketing is working and growing the sport from all ends.