12/19/2011 2:59PM

Hollywood Park sees rise in handle on its races

Benoit & Associates
Liaison, with Rafael Bejarano riding, wins the CashCall Futurity to clinch Horse of the Meeting honors.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Hollywood Park concluded its 26-day autumn meeting on Sunday with an increase of 9.5 percent in handle on its live races from the 2010 meeting.

The track released very limited data on attendance and handle. Fox example, no comparative figures were released of handle generated from simulcasting of races from other tracks.

But the track’s president, Jack Liebau, said the increase in handle on Hollywood Park races led to a “slight underpayment” in purses. He said there was a possibility that a retroactive purse payment could be made, depending on final calculations from simulcasting conducted during the meeting and in coming days.

“We continue to have simulcasting through Dec. 24,” he said. “I think we’re very pleased with how it went.”

Average daily attendance at Hollywood Park and through offtrack betting locations in Southern California fell 5.1 percent, from 9,680 to 9,187, according to a track statement. The track did not report ontrack average daily attendance. According to figures released to the media on a daily basis, the average ontrack attendance was 3,332.

In terms of all-sources handle figures released to the media, the track’s two biggest days occurred on the final weekend of the meeting - $11,425,094 in handle on Saturday’s 10-race program, which included the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity, and $10,478,244 on Sunday. The Sunday program was boosted by mandatory payouts in two jackpot pools – the 50-cent pick five and pick six, both of which featured lucrative carryovers.

Sunday’s pick five pool reached a record $1,226,324, boosted by a carryover of $183,594 from Saturday. The bet paid $1,948. Sunday’s pick six began with a carryover of $93,036. Bettors added $745,140 on Sunday. The bet paid $11,713.

Through the meeting, field size increased from 7.29 runners per race in 2010 to 7.89 this year. Average field size for the 2011 meeting was over 8 runners per races as of early December, but tailed off in the final two weeks of the meeting.

Jockey Joel Rosario was the leading rider with 37 wins, four more than Rafael Bejarano, who led all riders with earnings of $1,690,868. Between them, Rosario, 26, and Bejarano, 29, have won every riding title at Del Mar, Hollywood Park, and Santa Anita since Garrett Gomez was the leading rider at the 2007 Hollywood Park fall meeting.

Mike Mitchell, 63, led all trainers with 18 wins, two clear of Doug O’Neill. The title was Mitchell’s first at Hollywood Park since the 1997 spring-summer meeting. He was leading trainer at Del Mar earlier this year.

Trainer Jack Carava’s Oakhart Racing and breeder Ben Warren were leading owners with four wins each. Liaison, who won Saturday’s CashCall Futurity, was voted Horse of the Meeting.

Arnold Zetcher, who owns Liaison, led owners with earnings of $504,480.