04/23/2016 4:29PM

Mahoning Valley posts substantial gains in average handle for winter-spring meet


Mahoning Valley Race Course wrapped up its winter-spring meet Saturday with substantial gains in average daily handle.

According to figures released by the Austintown, Ohio, track, handle averaged $738,405 per day an increase of more than 31 percent from the corresponding season in 2015 and the highest daily average for any meet since the track opened in late fall of 2014.

Field Size was up significantly as well, with an average of 8.5 wagering interests per race. Last year’s winter-spring season averaged 6.71 wagering interests.

“We are pleased with the gains we made this season,” said Mark Loewe, vice president of racing for Penn Gaming. “We benefited from better weather, lesser competition, and a stronger overall product.”

Christian Pilares topped the jockey standings with 49 wins. He also led all riders with purse earnings of more than $651,000. Pilares finished four wins ahead of Samuel Bermudez.

Elliot Sullivan, 27, won his first training title with 26 wins after finishing second at last year’s winter-spring meet. His 111 starters hit the board 59 percent of the time and earned more than $218,000. Joe Poole finished second with 23 winners.

The 7-year-old mare Carolyn M, owned by Rolf Olbrecht and trained by Joe Poole, won 4 of 6 starts to earn horse of the meet honors.

Mahoning Valley’s fall season, which begins with a special Friday program on Oct. 28, will be highlighted by the $750,000 Best of Ohio Championships on Saturday, Oct. 29 and the $200,000 Steel Valley Sprint on Monday, Nov. 21.