07/21/2014 11:57AM

Business strong opening week at Del Mar

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DEL MAR, Calif. – The four-day opening week of the Del Mar summer meeting from Thursday through Sunday showed strong attendance and handle figures compared to opening week in 2013, according to figures released by the track on Sunday.

This year, Del Mar opened on a Thursday instead of the traditional Wednesday to allow additional time to transform the facility for racing following the closure of the San Diego County Fair on July 6. The fair is conducted on the same property. As a result, the track raced four days opening week this year compared to five last year, making comparisons inexact.

Track officials generated a comparison by eliminating the attendance and handle figures from the second day of the 2013 meeting, a Thursday, and comparing the opening days of each year with the Friday through Sunday programs. Using those parameters, average ontrack handle reached $3,090,254, an increase of 2.1 percent from the $3,025,849 wagered from 2013.

Average all-sources handle, include simulcasting and Internet wagering, was $14,697,782 for the first four days of this year’s meet, an increase of 4.9 percent from the $14,007,511 from the four days used for comparison during opening week in 2013.

Average ontrack handle increased 0.5 percent, from 24,831 in 2013 to 24,960 this year.

Average field size rose from 8.84 runners for 45 races in the first week of 2013 to 9.43 runners for 40 races this year. The track plans to add additional races to upcoming programs to make up for races lost due to one fewer day of racing in opening week this year. For example, Wednesday and Thursday programs this week will have nine races compared to eight on the corresponding days in 2013.