Calculating the final all-sources handle for Hambletonian Day is a lengthy and complicated process due to foreign, non-commingled partners. The actual final tally is not known for several months. However, with some foreign outlets still in the process of reporting/finalizing their numbers, the total handle is projected to be very close to $8 Million, which will be an increase from 2012.
Unlike a typical race day, Hambletonian Day handle is comprised of much more than on-track handle and North American Export. In addition, there is wagering in the form of commingled and non-commingled (separate pool) foreign dollars. Some of these outlets include France, Sweden, Finland and Australia.
Despite rain falling through the first 5 races, the live handle in 2013 of $1,648,015 was virtually flat compared to the $1,649,385 wagered in 2012. The 2013 commingled export of $5,252,302 marked an increase of 15-percent from the $4,577,832 wagered through commingled export in 2012.
In addition, there was $2,261,405 wagered on The Hambletonian Eliminations and Final, not including non-commingled foreign wagering. That total, when compared to the $1,637,993 wagered on the Eliminations (held the week prior) and Final in 2012, yields an increase of 38-percent. Without the non-commingled foreign dollars factored in, this was the 5th highest total wagered on the Hambletonian in its history. Furthermore, when the non-commingled wagers are calculated, the total could come very close to record Hambletonian handle of $2,583,857 set in 2001.
In order to gauge the success of the 2013 Hambletonian, it is important to compare the event to the last time it was held in a heat-format, which was in 1996. On that day, there was a total all-sources handle of $6,115,765 with $1,237,692 wagered on The Eliminations and The Hambletonian Final. Therefore a total handle increase of over $1.8 Million and a Hambletonian total handle nearly double that of the last time the event was held in heats makes the 2013 edition a rousing success.
While there will always be more money wagered on a single Hambletonian Final when the field is known for the entire week leading up to the race, heat-racing produces a much more exciting event and a larger total handle on the Eliminations and The Final combined. The 2013 Hambletonian handle figures show that heat racing can be successful on the biggest stage in the modern-era.
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