08/18/2014 10:28AM

Arapahoe Park closes meet with handle flat, attendance up


Arapahoe Park in Aurora, Colo., closed out its 38-date mixed meet Sunday with average daily handle on its live races running about even with last year and attendance up sharply. The track provided the numbers at the request of Daily Racing Form .

Arapahoe handled an average of $150,896 a day on its live races from all sources at this meet, off 1 percent from last year’s $153,181 during a 39-date season. Of the total handle, an average of $93,457 a day was bet offsite, down 5 percent, and an average of $57,439 a day was bet ontrack, up 6 percent.

Attendance at the meet averaged 1,981 patrons a program, up 29 percent from 1,528 in 2013.

Arapahoe’s purses averaged $115,000 a program, up 2 percent from $112,000.

Arapahoe in late June introduced a bonus program that rewarded trainers whose charges won races “void of any race-day medication” in their system. There were 21 different horses who ran medication-free, with three of those horses winning a total of four races, according to track official Bill Powers.

The trainers earned a $1,000 bonus for each win. The funds came from an account independent of purses and handle, according to Arapahoe spokesman Jonathan Horowitz.

The meet closed Sunday with optimism for the future, as Colorado residents on Nov. 4 will vote on whether to allow slot machines at Arapahoe.

◗ Horowitz, the announcer at Arapahoe as well as Zia Park in New Mexico, said he will be calling races at Windsor Racecourse on Sunday.