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Handle Figures Continue Solid As Del Mar Passes Midpoint

With the racing season passing its midpoint and heading to the far turn, handle figures continued to show positively at Del Mar on Sunday at the conclusion of Day 20 and Week #4 of the 2013 meet.

On-track betting is up a nifty 7.4%, which is surely a good sign. But even better yet, total handle is now muscling up at a plus 11.3%.

The on-track cumulative total thus far is $49,456,139, as opposed to $46,030,298 last year. That figures to a daily average in 2013 of $2,472,807, which is beyond 2012’s $2,301,515.

The total pari-mutuel handle figs tally at $256,343,616 (vs. $230,320,914 in ’12), meaning the overall daily average has climbed from $11,516,046 last year to $12,817,181.

Del Mar’s attendance has felt a dip of 4.7% from a 376,566 total for 2012 to 358,785 this season. Those numbers make for daily averages of 18,828 (2012) against 17,939 (2013). Part of the decline at the gate can be attributed to an altering of scheduling for this season as opposed to last with several of the likely large-draw days yet to come.

Field size continues to run ahead of last year’s totals, always a good sign for bettors. Last year through four weeks there had been 1,464 starters in 175 races, an average of 8.4 horses per race. This year with the same 175 races there have been 1,499 runners, meaning the per-race average is 8.6.

“Ship and Win,” the track’s bonus program for owners who bring horses from out of state to run at the meet, continues to build up the numbers. Last year through 20 days (and 175 races) there were 88 “S&W” horses winning eight times. This year through the same time span (and same 175 contests) there have been 86 “S&W” runners winning 15 races.

Another active number is on the claiming front where 133 horses have been “haltered” through the first 20 cards with nearly $3,000,000 changing hands. The exact total is $2,921,000 and the state of California is more than happy in each case to collect its 8% sales tax.

There are still three weeks of racing left, but the jockey riding title might be all but a done deal for two-time Del Mar champ Rafael Bejarano. The Peruvian ace has registered 29 firsts from 136 mounts, a win percentage of 21 and a 13-victory lead over his closest rivals. The two riders next in line are Martin Garcia and Julien Leparoux, both with 16 wins.

The training race is still a battle and could get very interesting before the curtain comes down on Wednesday, September 4. Four conditioners currently are in double figures for wins and only four victories separate them from top to bottom. Leading the parade at the moment is two-time champ John Sadler with 14 firsts. Next comes seven-time training king Bob Baffert with 12. Then right in trace are Jerry Hollendorfer with 11 and Doug O’Neill at 10.

Del Mar’s 37-day meet will continue on Wednesday with first post scheduled for 2 p.m. Highlighting the Wednesday card will be a notable Pick Six carryover of $255,708. 


8/11/13                                                          ###