Playersboycott.org: Horseplayers Boycott Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs Handle Update

Playersboycott.org May 11, 2014

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Playersboycott.org reports Churchill handle down sharply through May 11, 2014 on regular race days.

Key Executives at CHDN have made a calculated decision to hit horseplayers with a takeout increase. WIN-PLACE-SHOW takeout at Churchill Downs was recently raised to 17.50%, an increase of 9.375% vs. last year's takeout of 16.00%. Takeout for all EXOTIC wagers at Churchill Downs was recently raised to 22.00%, an increase of 15.79% vs. last year's takeout rate of 19.00%.

Churchill's numbers through the first 10 days of their meet:

2013 Handle Races Runners 2014 Handle Races Runners Change
Sat 4/27 6,426,284 11 82 Sat 4/26 6,853,580 10 79 +6.65%
Tue 4/30 4,923,943 10 77 Tue 4/29 4,338,665 10 73 -11.9%
Wed 5/1 7,168,841 10 79 Wed 4/30 5,343,941 10 67 -25.5%
Thu 5/2 9,694,379 10 80 Thu 5/1 7,864,440 11 77 -18.9%
Fri 5/3 45,675,755 12 118 Fri 5/2 43,139,084 12 113 -5.6%
Sat 5/4 183,925,435 13 122 Sat 5/3 185,336,318 13 129 +0.8%
Thu 5/9 5,778,495 9 67 Thu 5/8 3,284,732 9 60 -43.2%
Fri 5/10 5,650,281 11 87 Fri 5/9 4,009,295 10 68 -29.0%
Sat 5/11 6,733,118 11 82 Sat 5/10 4,111,858 10 65 -38.9%
Sun 5/12 6,044,314 11 91 Sun 5/11 4,515,946 10 76 -25.3%









TOTALS $282,020,845 108 885   $268,797,859 105 807 -4.7%
AVG PER RACE $2,611,304   8.19   $2,559,979   7.69 -2.0%




Wait a minute. You mean I'm boycotting and handle is only down 4.7%?

Not so fast...

For those of you who may not know, Kentucky Derby Day Saturday is the single highest handle day in all of North American racing. Likewise, Kentucky Oaks Day Friday is also one of the highest handle days in all of North American racing.

What happens if we break the Kentucky Oaks Day Friday and Kentucky Derby Day Saturday cards out as special event days - and remove both of them from the above table?

This is what the numbers look like for the remaining regular race days:


2013 Handle Races Runners 2014 Handle Races Runners Change
Sat 4/27 6,426,284 11 82 Sat 4/26 6,853,580 10 79 +6.65%
Tue 4/30 4,923,943 10 77 Tue 4/29 4,338,665 10 73 -11.9%
Wed 5/1 7,168,841 10 79 Wed 4/30 5,343,941 10 67 -25.5%
Thu 5/2 9,694,379 10 80 Thu 5/1 7,864,440 11 77 -18.9%
Thu 5/9 5,778,495 9 67 Thu 5/8 3,284,732 9 60 -43.2%
Fri 5/10 5,650,281 11 87 Fri 5/9 4,009,295 10 68 -29.0%
Sat 5/11 6,733,118 11 82 Sat 5/10 4,111,858 10 65 -38.9%
Sun 5/12 6,044,314 11 91 Sun 5/11 4,515,946 10 76 -25.3%









TOTALS $52,419,655 83 645   $40,322,457 80 565 -23.1%
AVG PER RACE $631,562   7.77   $504,031   7.06 -20.2%


The above numbers - for the eight regular race cards so far this meet - are telling:

• Avg Field Size is down 0.71 starters per race. -9.13%

And while you'd expect that to have a negative impact on handle - but not to the extent handle has fallen for seven of the eight regular race days so far this meet:

• Total handle? DOWN -$12,097,198   (-23.08%)

• Avg Handle per Race? DOWN -$127,531  (-20.19%)

• Avg Handle per Day? DOWN -$1,512,550. (-23.08%)

Do the above numbers suggest everyday horseplayers are staying away?

Well, something is causing this. Is it possible that everyday horseplayers are saying "no" to higher takeout?

Churchill's meet is 37 days long. There are 10 days in the books and 27 days left to go. You the everyday horseplayer still have a very big say in all of this.

Stay the course for the next 27 days and the racing world will hear your message loud and clear.

• Playersboycott.org is asking horseplayers to consider the idea that horseplayers are consumers and that every handle dollar bet not just at Churchill Downs, but at CHDN owned tracks Arlington Park, Calder, and Fairgrounds, along with every handle dollar bet through CHDN owned ADW Twinspires.com, and every dollar spent downloading data and reports from CHDN owned data provider Brisnet.com is a vote for higher takeout everywhere.

• Playersboycott.org also wants horseplayers to know there are plenty of tracks running this summer whose wagering menus offer better value than Churchill and that players have other options when it comes to choice of ADWs and data providers.


* About the above numbers: The above numbers were compiled by horseplayers who spent volunteer man-hours combing through the charts hand keying pool amounts into a spreadsheet. If you notice an obvious mistake please let us know by email at: info @ hanaweb . org (remove the blank spaces first)


Tracks you may want to check out this weekend:

• Woodbine: 14.95% WIN takeout

• Belmont: 16.0% takeout WPS    18.50% takeout Exactas and Doubles    15.0% takeout 50 cent Pick5 races 1-5    (arguably the most insightful pre-race TV analysis of any track out there.)

• Santa Anita: 15.43% takeout WPS    18.0% takeout rolling Doubles    14.0% takeout 50 cent Pick5 races 1-5.

• Gulfstream: 15.0% takeout 50 cent Pick5

• Hastings Park: 15.0% takeout WPS, Double, Pick3, Pick4, and Pick5

• Northlands Park: 14.50% takeout WPS    10.0% takeout Pick5    (the LOWEST WPS and Pick5 takeout of any track in North America)

• Prairie Meadows: 15.0% takeout 50 cent Pick4

• Monmouth: 19.0% takeout Exacta and Double    15.0% takeout 50 cent Pick4 and Pick5


NEW! Printable Takeout Guide for your Wallet! click here

NEW! Printable Takeout Guide for your Desk! click here

These two printable PDF charts point out, at a glance, Player friendly wagers available at North American thoroughbred tracks. "Player friendly" is defined as less than 17% for WPS and less than 20% for all other wagers. Focusing wagering handle on these pools is a way to send the message to all tracks that lower takeout rate wagers will be supported and that lowering takeout rates on all wagers is the most efficient path to future wagering handle growth. Please also note that while several wager types for Arlington and Calder appear on the list at this time we recommend avoiding them during the boycott of their parent company, Churchill Downs Incorporated.

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