12/08/2003 12:00AM

Hoosier's offtrack handle jumps

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Average nightly handle on racing at Hoosier Park rose to $1,433,438 in 2003, an increase of 17.5 percent over $1,220,255 last year thanks to a brisk offtrack handle during the 70-day meet.

Ontrack attendance declined by 5.1 percent from last year, from a nightly average of 966 to 916, and ontrack wagering on Hoosier racing dropped to an average of $55,261, down 11.9 percent from $62,692 in 2002. Offtrack handle on Hoosier races grew 19.1 percent, however, from $1,157,562 last year to $1,378,173 this year.

Average daily purses fell 34.5 percent, from $177,390 to $115,982. Track officials attributed the decline to the new state-required split of riverboat casino admission taxes with Indiana Downs.

Orlando Mojica easily captured the riding title with 100 wins. Mojica also captured the Indiana Downs riding title. Rodney Prescott was second in the standings with 78 wins.

Ralph Martinez broke the trainer's record with 66 wins. Stanley Roberts previously held the mark with the 42 winners in 2001.