10/16/2013 2:47PM

Hastings meet ends up in average handle


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The average daily handle at Hastings rose by 1.5 percent at the 2013 meet, which ended Monday, but fewer racing days caused a decline in total handle.

There were 69 days scheduled, but a shortage of horses and a virus that hit the backstretch in midsummer caused six days to be canceled. The total all-sources live handle of $31,071,594 was off by 4.6 percent compared to the $32,553,850 that was wagered over 67 days in 2012.

The daily average of $493,199 was slightly higher than last year, when $485,875 was bet on a daily basis.
The total ontrack live handle of $8,187,552 was down by 16.9 percent compared to last year, when $9,848,342 was wagered at the track. The daily average was down by 11.6 percent to $129,961, compared to $146,989 in 2012.

“Canceling days hurt us,” interim general manager Darren McDonald said. “When people show up expecting there to be races and we aren’t running, they aren’t happy about it. We did see nice growth in the export market, though, and our per-race average was up by 5.8 percent.”

Jockey Enrique Gonzalez got hot the last two weekends and surged past Amadeo Perez to end the meet with 59 wins and his first riding title. Perez came up two wins short in trying to win his second straight title.

Craig MacPherson won his first training title, with 34 wins. Troy Taylor and Dino Condilenios tied for second with 30 wins. Taylor had been the leading trainer at Hastings the past six years.

The votes haven’t been counted, but Herbie D will almost certainly be awarded the Vanderbilt Trophy as the British Columbia Horse of the Year at the annual awards dinner on Dec. 5. He locked up the trophy with a win in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs.

Owner Peter Redekop and Canyon Farms, which bred 2012 Queen’s Plate winner Strait of Dover, will be inducted into the British Columbia Horse Racing Hall of Fame at the awards dinner.

◗ Assistant racing secretary and racing analyst Matt Jukich resigned Wednesday morning to take the announcer’s job at Northlands Park.