Posted: Sept. 11, 2019

By Tom LaMarra

Monday and Tuesday afternoons are usually the best for Parx Racing in terms of total pari-mutuel handle because of a dearth of competition on those days throughout most of the year.

Labor Day is a different kind of Monday, as many tracks offer holiday programs. But the Pennsylvania racetrack–and the MATCH Series, which held its fourth of five legs that day–benefited from the closure of Gulfstream Park in Florida because of Hurricane Dorian and an off-the-turf program on closing day at Saratoga Race Course in New York.

Aided by a strong program that included seven stakes, Parx generated total handle of $4,032,945 for 12 races, up 160% from $1.551,880 for 10 races on Labor Day 2018. The four MATCH Series stakes generated $1,647,443–highest of the season thus far–which includes in-race bets and horizontals such as the daily double, Pick 3 and Pick 4.

The average handle for the MATCH stakes at Parx was $411,860, well above the average of $296,566 for the previous 12, four each on three programs. The MATCH stakes accounted for one-third of the card but 40.8% of total handle at Parx, which had the highest individual race handles to date: $478,449 for the Neshaminy Stakes and $459,264 for the Sal DeBunda/PTHA President’s Cup Stakes.

Total wagering on the 16 series stakes thus far is $5,207,896, good for an average of $325,493. A bump in field size at Parx brought the overall MATCH Series figure to an average of 7.25 so far this year, almost even with the national average from January through August 2019.

The fifth and championship leg of the MATCH Series will be held Sept. 28 at Monmouth Park.