08/07/2001 11:00PM

Colonial's average handle up

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Colonial Downs's first summer meet for Thoroughbreds came to a close Tuesday with gains in attendance and average handle.

Attendance for the 25-day meet, seven days shorter than in 2000, when the meet was conducted in the fall, reached 48,500, up 25 percent over 2000.

Average ontrack handle rose 21 percent from $136,969 to $165,829. The effect of the shortened meet, however, was reflected in the total ontrack handle, which dipped 5 percent, from last year's $4,382,997 to $4,145,716 in 2001.

Total handle, including simulcast wagering on Colonial Downs's races, was down only 1 percent from the $27,860,950 wagered during the 32-day meet in 2000.

The Colonial Downs meet placed an emphasis on grass racing, which accounted for 82 percent of all the races run.

Mario Pino booted home 33 winners from 112 mounts for his third consecutive riding championship at the New Kent, Va., track.

Trainer Ferris Allen, a native of Virginia, won his fifth consecutive training title at Colonial Downs. Allen had 10 winners to Vinnie Blengs's nine.