Economic Impact Horse Happenings

Handle Solidly Up After First Week Of Del Mar Session

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.

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