10/03/2011 12:26PM

Hastings handle increases overall

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Hastings closed the 2011 meet with a bang. The final day’s mutuel handle of $1,068,679 was more than double the 2010 final-day total of $501,248. The comparison is emblematic of how strong the final part of the season was. After being down by close to 17 percent after the first couple of months, Hastings closed out the meet with the average daily handle being up by 4 percent over last year.

The total all-sources live handle for the 69 days was $30,888,829 for a daily average of $447,664. In 71 days in 2010 the total handle was $30,558,742, an average of $430,404.

The ontrack total was down, $9,843,197 compared with $10,528,151 last year, for a 6.5 percent drop. The daily ontrack average of $142,655 was off by 3.8 percent compared to $148,283 last year.

Full fields helped boost the closing weekend’s numbers, but the average of 7.22 horses per race for the year was down from 7.57 in 2010.

“I am very encouraged by how the final half of the meet went,” said the track’s general manager, Raj Mutti. “Our attendance skyrocketed, and what looked like a disaster turned into a strong year for us. We hope to carry the momentum into next year.”

Horrible weather in the spring and a run by the Vancouver Canucks for the Stanley Cup contributed to the rough start at the beginning of the meet.

At 80 years old, trainer Troy Taylor is still going strong. He won his fifth straight trainer’s title with 53 wins for earnings of $1,046,322. Craig MacPherson finished second with 28 wins.

Richard Hamel was the leading rider for the second year in a row with 88 wins. Mario Gutierrez was a close second with 85 wins. Gutierrez was the top money rider with his mounts earning $1,488,473.

Hastings has scheduled 71 race days in 2012, from April 14 through October 14.