07/23/2012 7:51AM

Del Mar up in handle but down in attendance for opening week

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Del Mar showed gains in ontrack and all-sources average handle but a decline in ontrack average attendance through Sunday, the fifth day of the 37-day meeting.

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Average ontrack handle increased 8 percent from the first five days of last year’s meeting, to $2,649,568, while all-sources handle, including simulcast locations and account wagering, was $12,227,863, an increase of 2.4 percent over the corresponding week in 2011.

“I was very surprised,” track president Joe Harper said. “Our ontrack handle has been strong.”

The increase in handle occurred despite a drop in average field size.

Fields averaged 8.16 starters per race last week compared to 8.49 runners in the corresponding five-day period in 2011.

The ontrack average attendance fell 8.4 percent, to 21,467, despite an opening day record crowd of 47,339 last Wednesday. Harper said attendance figures were affected by the lack of an ontrack giveaway that drew a sizeable crowd opening week of the 2011 meeting as well as weaker attendance than last year the day of an opening-week post-race concert.

“I think those kinds of things made a difference,” Harper said.

Del Mar will race five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays, through Sept. 5, with racing on Monday, Sept. 3, Labor Day.

Jack More than 1 year ago
Joe Harper should know when it's time to GET OUT. All he has done is, Gouge the PUBLIC.
mikey More than 1 year ago
People are tired of paying to get in, parking program's and crazy food price's.By the time 2 fan's walk in it can cost 40 $$.They are tired of all this.No reason to charge to get in.Valet parking is a rip off i heard it is 40 $$$$ come on man.For that price they ought to was and clean your car.All track's care about is handle, with on line and phone betting why spend that 40 $ when you can bet with it.Oh you also have to pay for seat's where you can see the race well.