01/06/2013 1:52PM

Laurel: Maryland posts gains in live handle for 2012

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Apprentice rider Trevor McCarthy, the 18-year-old son of former Delaware Park star jockey Mike McCarthy, rode four winners on the New Year's Day card at Laurel.

The Maryland Jockey Club managed to post healthy gains in wagering on both its live racing product and its signal sent to other betting outlets during the 2012 season. The year featured 145 live racing dates and 206 simulcast days.

Based on figures released by the organization on Saturday, total ontrack handle at Pimlico and Laurel rose 6.6 percent from $176.3 million in 2011 to $186.7 million in 2012.

Wagering on Maryland races via simulcast climbed 17.5 percent from $243.8 million to $286.3 million.

The gains were offset by a 23 percent drop in wagers placed in Maryland on out-of-state races. Overall, all-sources handle in Maryland was up a modest 1 percent from $446.6 million in 2011 to $449.5 million in 2012.

“It is significant news that the live and export numbers increased from a year ago,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. “We finished strong at Pimlico in the spring and kept the momentum going during the Laurel Park fall meeting. I attribute the boost to increased purses, as we are running for $250,000 per day, which is up $90,000, improved field sizes, and more aggressive marketing.”

Live attendance numbers were mixed. Crowds at Laurel plummeted 23 percent from 547,035 to 419,753. Boosted by a 13 percent gain on Preakness Day from 107,398 to a record 121,309, total attendance during Pimlico’s meet rose 1 percent from 312,411 to 315,130.

McCarthy starts off New Year with four winners

Trevor McCarthy, the 18-year-old son of former Delaware Park star jockey Mike McCarthy, rang in 2013 by riding four winners on the New Year’s Day card at Laurel.

Mike McCarthy had six consecutive 200-win seasons from 1995-2000 while riding at Delaware Park. He retired in 2002 with 2,907 victories.

The younger McCarthy, who rides with a seven-pound weight allowance as an apprentice, enjoyed his first multiple-win day by scoring with Kincaid ($3.20), Merryland Moon ($5.60), Bluegrass Kopp ($24.80), and Proud Daddy ($18.20) on last Tuesday’s special holiday card.

“I had never won more than one a day so to win four is really exciting. What a great way to start the New Year,” said McCarthy, who galloped horses for trainer Graham Motion at the Fair Hill Training Center while in high school. “My mom told me when I graduated I could do whatever I wanted and this is something I have wanted my whole life. My dad put me on horses when I was real young. I hope to be as good as him one day.”

After graduating from Alexis DuPont High School in Wilmington, Del., last spring, Trevor McCarthy began riding at Parx Racing before relocating to Maryland last month. He had 2 wins from 31 mounts during the Laurel fall meeting.

“Maryland is known to be a good place for a bug rider,” McCarthy said.

Maryland-based riders have captured nine of the 41 Eclipse Awards for outstanding apprentice. The most recent was Ryan Fogelsonger in 2002.