Handle Continues Climb, Attendance Up After Week Three
With three full weeks of sport in the books, Del Mar continues on a positive trend as it races right along in its 37-day summer session.
Betting numbers rose again during week three, notably in the on-track handle department where an overall plus for the meet of $3,297,353 has been recorded, equating to a 10.3% rise in money bet.
In the total pari-mutuel handle category, the seaside track shows a plus number of $5,908,607 for an overall increase of 3.5%. Last year at this time the total daily average handle stood at $11,318,353. Currently that number is $11,712,260.
On-track attendance for the meet improved once more as 90,570 fans spun the wickets during the Wednesday through Sunday week. In the track’s initial week of the season, attendance was down 6.4% compared to 2011. After the second week, the 2012 number had dropped to a minus 4.3%. The figure this week was reduced in the negative column once again, this time to 4.1%. Overall, there have been 289,055 on board for racing at the 2012 stand thus far, a daily average of 19,270.
Horse field size – a measure of meet health – also showed positive results after 15 days and 132 races. The 2011 number for field size at this juncture was 8.17. The 2012 figure is 8.34 horses per race.
The track’s “Ship and Win” program is also on the plus side of the ledger. Through the first three weeks in 2011, there had been 46 horses who were eligible for the $1,000 start bonus and additional purse rewards. Through the same period and number of races in 2012, that number rose to 73 starters, an increase of 59%.
Del Mar’s jockey crown contest spread to three riders during the week when young Joe Talamo registered a five-bagger on Friday, the top riding feat of the meet to this point. Rafael Bejarano currently leads the parade with 23 firsts, followed by Garrett Gomez with 21, then Talamo with 18. Trainer Doug O’Neill, who finished up the week by winning the graded Best Pal Stakes with first-time starter Know More, has the lead in the trainers’ race with 12 firsts. Following him are Peter Miller with nine wins and Bob Baffert with eight.
Del Mar will continue its seven-week run on Wednesday with a traditional first post at 2 p.m.