09/05/2005 11:00PM

Handle plunges at Ellis

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Business was down sharply at the 41-day meet that ended Monday at Ellis Park, with all-sources handle dropping 24 percent from comparable figures posted two years ago at the Henderson, Ky., track.

For comparison purposes, track officials used figures from 2003, when 41 days also were run on a five-day-a-week schedule. In 2004, the track ran 54 days on a six-day schedule.

Ontrack daily handle this year averaged $195,434, down 18 percent from 2003, while ontrack attendance averaged 2,937, down 2 percent. The all-sources handle average was $2,707,421.

Last year, during the longer meet, the average daily handle from all sources was $3,053,213, while the average ontrack handle was $273,545.

Purses were cut 15 percent halfway through the meet to compensate for the declines. The final per-day purse average was $140,315, down nearly 25 percent.

Jesus Castanon led all jockeys with 53 wins, and Steve Asmussen topped the trainer standings with 19 victories.