07/15/2013 12:57PM

Hollywood Park meet business a mixed bag


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The 49-day spring-summer meeting at Betfair Hollywood Park ended Sunday with a slight gain in all-sources handle but a drop in ontrack attendance and handle, according to track president Jack Liebau.

The spring-summer meeting was the last of its kind. The track will run an autumn meeting in November and December and is scheduled to be closed and demolished in 2014 for development.

Liebau said Sunday that all-sources handle, from ontrack business, simulcasting, and account-wagering sources, was up 3 percent over the corresponding meeting in 2012. Ontrack attendance and handle was “down significantly,” he said.

Hollywood Park did not release detailed attendance and handle figures Sunday. In a statement, the track said that business figures will be released “in the near future.”

Liebau cited the absence of regular Friday night programs, held in the past with rock concerts after racing, as the primary reason for a decline in ontrack attendance this year. The track held only one Friday night program this year, on July 5. Last year, nearly all Friday programs were held at night.

According to figures released to the media on a daily basis, the highest attendance and all-sources handle occurred May 4, which featured a simulcast of the Kentucky Derby program. Ontrack attendance reached 10,152, while all-sources handle was $18,958,362.

For the meeting, field sizes showed a slight gain over 2012. There were 7.6 starters per race this year, compared to 7.48 last year.

Game On Dude, a 6-year-old gelding, won the meeting’s biggest race, the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 6, and was named horse of the meeting.

Jockeys Edwin Maldonado and Rafael Bejarano finished in a tie in the riders standings with 51 wins, one more than Joe Talamo. Maldonado won the riding title at the track’s 2012 autumn meeting.

Talamo started the final four-day racing week with a four-win lead over Bejarano, but did not have a winner in the final week. Talamo led all riders with 10 stakes wins.

John Sadler won his fourth training title at the track, finishing the meeting with 29 wins, five more than Mike Puype. Sadler also won titles at the autumn meetings in 2007 and 2009 and the 2008 spring-summer meeting. Puype equaled a 58-year-old track record by saddling six consecutive winners from June 20-22.

Sadler trains for Kosta Hronis, who led all owners with 11 wins and earnings of $479,190.