By Steve Andersen
ARCADIA, Calif. – Handle at all California racetracks rose by slightly more than 2 percent in 2016, surpassing $3 billion, according to a report released at Thursday’s California Horse Racing Board meeting.
Handle at daytime Thoroughbred meetings, the yearlong evening Quarter Horse and lower-level Thoroughbred meeting at Los Alamitos, and Standardbred racing at Cal-Expo in Sacramento reached $3.04 billion, a gain of 2.09 percent over 2015.
Handle on daytime Thoroughbred racing led the way with growth of 2.28 percent to $2.7 billion. Ontrack handle fell 2 percent to $349,692,016, while out-of-state handle rose 7.4 percent to $1,415,097,259.
Account wagering showed modest growth of 1 percent to $617,223,682 over 2015 figures.
The statistics were boosted by growth in December. Total handle grew by 18.5 percent for the month to $206,844,884. The month was led by a 20.8 percent jump in daytime Thoroughbred handle to $182,927,637.
Part of the increase was attributed to racing at Del Mar on the first weekend of the month and a strong Los Alamitos daytime Thoroughbred meeting, according to racing board executive director Rick Baedeker.