04/27/2010 12:00AM

Hawthorne manages small gain


Betting on the Hawthorne spring meet that ended Sunday held steady from 2009, something like a victory in the current economic climate.

Total average daily handle increased by 2 percent during 2010's 44-day meet, improving to $2,031,710 compared with $1,990,306 during 2009's 38-day season, according to figures provided by Hawthorne. Out-of-state betting on Hawthorne races, up 3.5 percent from $1.645 million to $1.703 million, drove the overall increase, with ontrack betting on live races down 13 percent, from $117,115 last year to $101,473.

Comparing the two seasons is difficult because of significant changes between the meets. This year's spring season started weeks earlier in mid-February, and included an altered racing week. Also, the 2010 increase came on the heels of steep declines from 2008 to 2009, when total average daily handle on the spring meet fell by 15 percent.

Frank Kirby garnered his third straight Hawthorne training title with 45 winners on the meet. Hondo Ranch, the province of Kirby and his wife, Sharon, led the owner standings with 15 victories. Kirby's main jockey, Tanner Riggs, notched his second consecutive riding crown at Hawthorne, winning 57 races, 15 more than runners-up Tim Thornton and Inez Karlsson.