Here are some interesting attendance figures from Father’s Day. I’m not sure if I was more surprised by the results or by the number of tracks that either do not report or track attendance numbers! All this information is easily gathered by the perusing the DRF Charts.
First, the list of “Not Available”:
Woodbine (it was NOT Father’s Day in Canada, by the way)
Here are the tracks that DID report attendance figures – at least early enough to be included in the DRF Charts for the day’s races – in descending order of attendance:
Monmouth – 54,262
CANTERBURY – 12,129
Belmont – 11,304
Hollywood – 5,911
Lone Star – 5,337
Ruidoso – 2,571
I found it interesting that in our little corner of heaven we were able to get over twice the number of bodies through the turnstiles than Southern California and even a smidgen more than a legendary racetrack in the most populous metropolitan area of the country.
I’m no statistician, nor do I play one on TV (though I AM open to offers) so before you folks out there that are start to pummel me on poor methodology, ask about handle etc., my only point is to illustrate that racing CAN hold appeal to folks. They will come out and watch if you make it exciting and affordable. It was an absolutely GORGEOUS day here in Minnesota on Father’s Day. Temps were in the low 80’s, the sun was shining and there was a slight breeze blowing. I know, I know – but Ted, you ask, there is nothing else to do in Minnesota, right? Nay, nay, I say. Days like that is when Minnesotans head outside and ride bikes, hike, fish, camp and head north to some of our over 10,000 lakes. Father’s Day is also a great day for cookouts (or bar-b-ques depending on your part of the country) and, obviously, family time.
Canterbury was loaded with families on Sunday. There were plenty of strollers and the playground area was packed with kids. Youngsters were giving mom and dad tips and more than one child was thrilled when the “horsies” came tearing past the stands in a mile plus race. The track was giving away a “Man Cave Makeover”, free admission and the elimination heats of the wiener dog races which will culminate in the wiener dog championships 4th of July weekend. Wagering wasn’t spectacular, but the crowd was. The enthusiasm in each and every race as the horses thundered through the stretch run was exhilarating. Folks were excited and people cared. Hell, I even brought our 25-year old nephew to the track for the first time and even he wagered a dollar or two! Yes, we’ll need to be able to foster these fans and turn them into bettors to keep the lifeblood of the sport alive. But isn’t getting potential new fans interested and through the door half the battle and an important first step?