05/19/2004 11:00PM

NJC numbers decline slightly

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The second season of the arrangement that brought the National Jockey Club meet to Hawthorne Race Course ended last week, and the financial figures for 2004 were much like last year's.

During the 47-day meet ending May 11, average daily handle from all sources declined 2.1 percent, to $3,907,985, with losses posted mainly on the local end of the business. Out-of-state betting on NJC at Hawthorne races actually increased slightly, up .13 percent this year to an average $1,753,409 per day. But with declines ontrack (7.3 percent to $224,518) and at in-state OTB's (down 5.5 percent to $402,900), the average daily handle on live races was down 1.6 percent, to $2,380,828.

Apprentice jockey Cruz Contreras won his first riding title, with 46 victories. Pat Cuccurullo's 25 victories made him the leading trainer.