10/03/2006 12:00AM

Handle, purses up, but track posts loss


AUBURN, Wash. - Emerald Downs closed its 10th anniversary season on Sunday and established records for average daily handle and average daily purse distribution.

Wagering from all sources on Emerald's live races averaged $843,832 per day, a gain of 4.8 percent. That gain was the result of a sharp increase in out-of-state wagering on Emerald's races, from $480,000 per day last year to $529,640, a rise of 10.3 percent.

Meanwhile, in-state wagering on full-card simulcasts declined from $576,201 per day to $539,156 per day.

The average daily combined handle at Emerald on live races and imported simulcasts reached $1,382,996, up slightly from last year's record of $1,381,128.

Average daily purse distribution reached $111,597 per day, up 3.1 percent from last year's record figure of $108,175. The track's president, Ron Crockett, said he is particularly gratified by the continued growth of purse distribution at Emerald, which distributed just $62,000 per day in purses at its inaugural meeting in 1996.

Despite its strong numbers, Emerald, which showed its first small profit last year, will again show a loss for 2006. Crockett said the track is projected to lose $427,000. Crockett attributed the loss to a shift in the handle from in-state wagering on full card simulcasting to out-of-state wagering on Emerald races, which is much less profitable for the track.

On the racing front, Flamethrowintexan was named horse of the meeting and top handicap horse after winning the $100,000 Mt. Rainier Handicap and the Grade 3 Longacres Mile.

Other equine awards went to Skewing for top 2-year-old filly, Immigration for 2-year-old male, She's All Silk for 3-year-old filly, Raise the Bluff for 3-year-old colt or gelding, and Queenledo for older filly or mare. Five-time winner Westsideclyde was named claimer of the meet, and Starbird Road was named top sprinter and Washington-bred.

Ricky Frazier notched his second riding title with 88 wins, 10 more than runner-up Kevin Krigger, and Frank Lucarelli won his third training title with 54 wins, 14 more than runner-up Howard Belvoir.