11/29/2004 12:00AM

Hastings handle drops in 2004

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Wagering on the Hastings live product was down 1.6 percent from last year, falling to $53,217,443 in 2004, compared with $54,061,966 in 2003. This despite racing two more days this year than last year, 71 to 69. Most of the decline can be attributed to the large drop-off in wagering from Woodbine, which sold Hastings in April and lessened its promotion of the racing there. Since the beginning of September, however, when California began betting into the Hastings pool, the total live handle has increased by almost 20 percent.

For the third straight year, ontrack wagering increased. Local fans bet $24,795,649, up marginally from the $24,542,356 wagered in 2003. Also, simulcast wagering increased, and the total combined handle including simulcast and live was up by just over 3 percent for the year.

For the third straight season, Pedro Alvarado was the leading rider with 130 victories, 51 more than Dave Wilson in second. With his mounts having earned $2,158,973, Alvarado became the first jockey at Hastings to earn more than $2 million in purses. Jorge Espitia was the leading apprentice with 45 wins, good for fifth place overall.

Dino Condilenios repeated as the leading trainer. He won 37 races at the meet, narrowly winning the title over Harold Barroby, who made a late bid but came up one short. Trainer David Forster edged out Condilenios in money won, $640,470 to $639,884. K. K. Sangara was the leading money-winning owner with $278,360 in earnings.