07/19/2009 11:00PM

Handle declines at shortened Hollywood meet


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Hollywood Park finished its spring-summer meeting on Sunday with declines in ontrack and all-sources handle and a slight gain in ontrack attendance, the track reported.

During the 55-day meeting, ontrack handle averaged $1.4 million a day, a drop of 9.1 percent from 2008. The preliminary all-sources average handle was $10.5 million, down 11 percent from $11.8 million in 2008. The track released approximate figures, pending the compilation of more thorough simulcast figures. Using the track's figures, Hollywood had a drop in total all-sources handle of about 18 percent from last year's 60-day meet.

Ontrack average attendance was 6,111, a gain of less than 1 percent over 2008.

Because of a horse shortage, the typical Wednesday-Sunday five-day weeks were reduced to four days, Thursday-Sunday, for part of the meeting. Hollywood was scheduled to run a 65-day meeting, but cancelled the final nine Wednesdays of the meet as well as one Thursday program in April because of insufficient entries.

"We feel the move to a four-day week was the correct course of action," track president Jack Liebau said in a statement. "At the time business was off close to 20 percent and a purse cut would have been necessary had we continued to run five days a week."

The upcoming Del Mar meeting is running six fewer days than last year, eliminating most Monday programs and running five days a week (Wednesday-Sunday) instead of the traditional six.

Mace and Samantha Siegel led all owners in earnings during the meet, with $705,620. The Siegels' Rail Trip won the $700,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 11. Paul Reddam and Zayat Stables led owners by victories, with eight each.

Jockey Joel Rosario won his first riding title in the United States with 79 victories, finishing 10 wins ahead of defending champion Rafael Bejarano. Rosario's title ended Bejarano's streak of six consecutive riding titles at major meetings in Southern California over the preceding 18 months.

Doug O'Neill won his fourth spring-summer title, leading all trainers with 37 wins. He finished 15 clear of John Sadler, who led the standings at Santa Anita earlier this year.

Zenyatta, the 2008 champion older female, was voted horse of the meeting. She won both of her appearances - the Milady and Vanity handicaps - to remain unbeaten in 11 career starts.

There is a chance this was the final spring-summer meeting at Hollywood Park. The track's owner, Bay Meadows Land Co., intends to develop the property for residential and commercial purposes and has not expressly stated that racing will be conducted after the upcoming fall meeting in November and December.

Hollywood Park officials have said they will give a six-month notice of its closure to accommodate the 1,400 horses based on the backstretch and to allow the rescheduling of Hollywood's dates at other tracks.