10/13/2010 1:51PM

Hastings handle takes hit


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The live mutuel handle at Hastings took a significant downturn in 2010. The gross all-sources handle of $30,558,648 was 25 percent lower than the $41,009,254 wagered in 2009. The daily average of $430,403 over the 71 days was off by 22 percent from the $554,179 averaged a year ago over 74 days.

The ontrack handle was also down by 25 percent – $10,528,188 compared with $14,140,856 in 2009.

There were 79 fewer races run in 2010 and the per-race average dropped 15 percent from $63,778 to $54,182. The field size remained constant at 7.6 horses per race.

“One bright spot is that our attendance is up,” said the general manager of Hastings, Raj Mutti. “We have a new, younger demographic, and we figure it will take three to five years before they start making a big difference in the handle totals. Actually, most of our declines in handle came from our U.S. partners, particularly California.”

Troy Taylor was the leading trainer for the fourth year in a row with 48 wins, three more than Craig MacPherson. It was Taylor’s fifth training title at Hastings. His first was 47 years ago in 1963. Taylor, 79, was recently voted into the British Columbia Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Richard Hamel led the jockey standings for the first time with 83 wins. Last year’s leading rider Fernando Perez held the lead most of the year but missed the last month of the meet due to a heart condition. Despite the time away he finished second with 70 wins.