03/30/2010 11:00PM

Average daily handle up at Hawthorne

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Handle in this economic climate seems only to head one direction: Down. But Hawthorne has bucked that trend during the month of March, actually posting handle gains over a similar period during the track's 2009 meeting.

Meet-to-meet comparisons between this year and last are difficult because the 2009 spring meet began March 6, and the 2010 meet on Feb. 12. But taking the 19 days raced during March 2009 and the 17 days raced this March, running through the March 28 program, Hawthorne's total average daily handle is up 4 percent. The March 2009 total average daily handle was $1,793,080 compared to $1,874,934 this month.

Hawthorne assistant general manager Jim Miller said the handle boost resulted from a change in racing days this year and a slight increase in field size. Miller said changing out Thursdays and Sundays raced in 2009 for Tuesdays and Wednesdays this year has boosted handle on Hawthorne races.

"Its our intent to stay with what works and do the exact same thing next year," Miller said.

Miller also reported that Hawthorne's turf rail will be put in place Monday, with grass racing to begin soon afterward.