10/31/2014 11:08AM

Hastings sees handle dip at 2014 meet


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The daily average was off only slightly, but nine fewer racing days resulted in a sharp decline in the total live mutuel handle at the 2014 Hastings meet, which ended Sunday.

The total all-sources handle of $25,935,417 wagered over 54 days was off more than 16 percent compared with the $31,071,594 bet over 63 days in 2013. Ontrack, the numbers were $6,856,403 compared with $8,187,552 in 2013, also a decrease of more than 16 percent.

The daily all-sources average of $480,286 was down nearly 3 percent from $493,200. The average ontrack handle was $126,970, down from $129,961 in 2013.

The largest handle of the year was on British Columbia Cup Day, when $1,450,746 was wagered on the 10-race card.

“Due to a shortage of horses, we ran a lot less races this year,” said Hastings general manager Darren MacDonald. “Our per-race average was basically the same, and with the success of our marquee days, we have shown that horse racing is very relevant in the greater Vancouver marketplace.”

Great Canadian Gaming Corp., the owner of Hastings, announced that it had reached an operating agreement with the city of Vancouver through November 2016. Great Canadian leases the track from the city.

“We laid a solid foundation for moving forward, and the two-year extension with the city allows us to continue working with industry stakeholders towards a long-term, sustainable horse-racing program,” said MacDonald.

Amadeo Perez ran away with his second riding title in the last three years. He finished second in the standings in 2013. This year, he won 108 races, 27 ahead of runner-up Richard Hamel.

Craig MacPherson repeated as leading trainer with 40 wins, 13 in front of Mike Anderson.

Swift Thoroughbreds, comprised of Mark and Naudia Mache and Horatio and Jackie Kemeny, repeated as leading owners. Their horses are trained by Dino Condilenios.

Dates have been announced for next year. The 54-day meet begins April 25 and runs through Oct. 25. Similar to 2014, four of the dates scheduled – Oct. 17, 18, 24, and 25 – are tentative. Industry stakeholders are confident that the budgetary requirements for running the four days will be met.