04/10/2017 9:30AM

Attendance up slightly, handle down at winter-spring meet


ARCADIA, Calif. – Santa Anita concluded the winter-spring portion of its six-month meeting Sunday with mixed results in attendance and handle figures.

Track officials said Sunday that attendance increased 1 percent over a similar period in the 2015-16 meeting, but all-sources handle, including ontrack, satellite, and account-wagering sources, was down 4 percent. The track did not release extensive business figures for the winter-spring dates.

The winter-spring meeting began Dec. 26. The spring-summer meeting begins Friday and runs through July 4, a calendar similar to the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.

Last year, Santa Anita raced until early April before closing for three weeks while Los Alamitos held a spring meeting until early May. Santa Anita held a spring-summer meeting from early May to mid-July last year. This year, Los Alamitos will hold a two-week meeting in July before the Del Mar summer meeting.

Santa Anita vice president Joe Morris said a continuation of racing through early July may result in higher business in the coming weeks and months and allow the track to regain business lost this year because of a wet winter.

“We’ll go the next three months,” Morris said. “We’ve got some momentum. We’ll be stronger than a year ago.”

The track lost three days of racing to rain this year and plans to make up two of those days on Thursday, April 20, and Thursday, June 1.

The wet conditions affected field size, which averaged 7.58 runners per race. Last year, the winter-spring meeting averaged 8.1 runners per race during a season that had considerably less wet weather.

Flavien Prat, 24, led all riders with 62 winners, his first riding title at a winter-spring meeting. He won four races Sunday. Tyler Baze finished second with 52 wins. Last year, Prat was second to Rafael Bejarano, whose streak of four consecutive titles at a winter-spring meeting ended with a third-place finish this year.

Jerry Hollendorfer, 70, led all trainers with 38 wins, his third title at a winter-spring meet in the last four years. Peter Miller was second with 35 wins. Hollendorfer tied with John Sadler at the 2013-14 meeting and won the 2014-15 meeting by one race over Miller. Last year, Hollendorfer was third to Phil D’Amato, who finished fourth this year.