09/11/2017 1:50PM

All-sources daily handle average shows slight gain for 2017

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Handle at the Monmouth Park meeting that concluded Sunday showed a narrow gain in the all-sources daily average over the 2016 meeting, according to figures released by the track.

Handle at the 50-day meet averaged $3.47 million per day, up just less than 1 percent from the $3.44 million a year ago. Ontrack handle increased 7.9 percent to $424,556 a day, while money bet offtrack was up slightly to $3.05 million per day.

Total handle for the season decreased by approximately 11.5 percent, since the 2016 meet consisted of seven additional racing days.

Average daily handle at the 2016 meet had declined 25 percent from 2015 when $4.6 million was bet per card. The 2015 figures were bolstered by a record-setting Haskell Day due to the presence of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

Daily attendance at this year’s meet increased 7.4 percent to 9,234 people per day.

Dennis Drazin, the chairman of Darby Development, which operates Monmouth on behalf of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, noted that Monmouth’s continuing lack of revenue from alternative gaming makes it difficult to keep purse levels on a par with surrounding states.

“We continue to operate at a distinct disadvantage to our neighbors, who have alternative revenue streams boosting their purses,” Drazin said. “This year’s numbers are indicative that people continue to support racing in New Jersey.”

Jorge Navarro won his fifth consecutive Monmouth training title with 65 wins, six more than the record he set in 2016. Navarro set a Monmouth Park record July 23 when he sent out five winners on the card.

Nik Juarez, 24, won his first career riding title with 75 wins, 19 more than runner-up Jose Ferrer.

Hector Diaz Jr. was the leading apprentice rider with 30 wins, despite not relocating from New York until seven weeks into the meet.

John Brunetti’s Red Oak Stable was the leading owner with 13 wins.