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Balmoral Park

Balmoral Park (4/12/12)

Contact: Tom Kelley
(708) 672-1414

Balmoral Park handle up over $10,000,000 in 2012

By Michael Antoniades, Chicago Racing Analyst

Balmoral Park reported strong first quarter growth in 2012 showing an increase of 35 percent in handle versus the first quarter of 2011. Total Q1 handle of $41,926,837 for 38 programs in 2012 was an increase of $10,879,738 compared to the 2011 Q1 handle of $31,047,099 on 37 programs.

The nightly average at Balmoral rose to $1,103,337, an increase of $264,227 per night versus Q1 of 2011. Going back to the successful model of the ’70s and ’80s, two of the three weekly cards went with only ten races resulting in a total of 423 races on 38 nights. The theory of fewer races to handicap and more free time for the players paid handsome dividends as the average handle per race in 2012 Q1 rose to $99,117, up $22,835 per race from Q1 of 2011.

Another key component was the low percentage of winning favorites. Balmoral offered some of the most competitive racing in North America. The evidence to this statement is overwhelming considering this fact. The Balmoral Park average of 33 percent winning favorites is not only the lowest in harness racing, it equals Thoroughbred racetracks Oaklawn Park and Parx for the lowest in all of racing for the first quarter of 2012.

The fact that the three major Thoroughbred venues this winter all sported higher percentages of winning favorites is a big reason why Balmoral Park has been able to get Thoroughbred players interested in harness racing. Through March 31, the Big 3 averages were Gulfstream and Santa Anita at 35 percent and Aqueduct at 40 percent.

Competitive racing resulted in some of the biggest payouts in racing. A Pick 5 record fifty-cent payout was established on February 1 when one winner took home $32,400.00. The record payout was topped three weeks later on February 22, when three lucky Pick 5 winners each received $44,675.10 on their 50-cent winning ticket. The largest Pick 4 payout was eleven days earlier when a one-dollar winning ticket took home $22.958.80. At Balmoral a player could do some damage with a dime as well. The Original 10-cent High 5 paid $13,599.00 on January 14 and $10,609.50 on April 4.

Low takeout, guaranteed pools and low minimums allowed players to last longer and gave them a better chance to win big. A three-horse fifty-cent trifecta box for $3.00 or a four-horse dime super box for $2.40 was a sure way to get newcomers to the winners circle more often and make the pools much larger, which made the gambling product more attractive to bigger players.

The Pick 4 wager at Balmoral continues to be an amazing story. In the words of one of our biggest players, “This should be taught at every business school in the country to show students what is possible.” Thanks to the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative, Track Master for the deluxe free program pages, combined with a low takeout of 15 percent, the Balmoral Pick 4 has become one of the most popular bets in North America. In 2009, the Pick 4 averaged $8,827 per night with a 25 percent takeout. Twenty-seven months later in the first quarter of 2012, the average pool rose to $32,143 with guaranteed pools and free program pages every night along with a 40 percent reduction in takeout. In 2012, $524,114 was wagered on thirteen March Pick Fours for a record monthly average of $40,316.


Month 2009 25% Takeout 2010 15% Takeout 2011 15% Takeout 2012 15% Takeout
JAN $8,524 $7,698 $15,163 $28,675
FEB 8,587 10,277 17,490 27,046
MAR 9,739 10,923 15,629 40,316
APR 7,750 11,021 26,584  
MAY 7,907 14,897 24,773  
JUN 9,425 14,109 24,708  
JUL 7,689 16,357 26,191  
AUG 8,160 12,570 23,658  
SEP 11,672 22,467 30,411  
OCT 7,432 15,670 28,016  
NOV 9,641 15,703 25,804  
DEC 10,349 12,584 23,519  

2009 - 25% takeout

2010 - 15% takeout

2011 thru March - 15% takeout

2011 April thru 6-26 -15% takeout and guarantees on Saturday and Sunday

2011 after 6-29 - 15% takeout and guarantees nightly. Guarantees raised $ 5,000

Free program pages are available at the USTA handicapping section.

My selections and harness racing news are available at

For more information visit or call (708) 672-1414.

About Balmoral Park: Located in Crete, IL just 12 miles south of 80/94; Balmoral Park has been one of the nation's premier horse racing facilities since 1926. Balmoral Park features live racing every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission and parking is always free.

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