Healthy handle numbers rang up across the board as Del Mar opened its 75th anniversary season with five days of racing from Wednesday (7/18) through Sunday (7/22).

On-track handle was strongest of all, showing an 8% gain over 2011 with a daily average figure of $2,649,568. Also up was Southern California ITW and ADW handle by 2.4% at an average of $3,623,918, while out-of-state handle also rose by 1.9% to a figure of $5,470,061.  Overall, the seaside facility realized a wagering gain of 2.4% with a daily average handle of $12,227,863.

Track figures also revealed a husky 17.8% rise in per capita wagering on track, moving upward from 2011 number of $104.73 per head to $123.42.

The track saw a dip in its on-track attendance to start the meet of 8.4% when lined up against its 2011 numbers, which included a notable giveaway that is scheduled for later in the 2012 session. After five days of sport the 2012 daily average crowd stands at 21,467. Del Mar did establish a single-day attendance record on its opening day when 47,339 racing fans turned out for a gala kickoff.

Through the initial week out on the racetrack, jockey Garrett Gomez is showing the way with eight victories. Behind him are Rafael Bejarano – seven wins – and Joe Talamo and Martin Garcia — both with six. Bejarano is the leading stakes rider with four triumphs in that category already.

The top trainer is four-time Del Mar kingpin Doug O’Neill with five winners. Four other conditioners are tied for second behind him with three victories apiece: Bob Baffert, John Sadler, Barry Abrams and Jeff Mullins.

Del Mar’s 37-day meet will run through Wednesday, September 5.