10/12/2011 1:26PM

Northlands Park meet ends with decline in handle


The total all-sources live handle of $16,626,450 at the 81-day 2011 Northlands Park meet that concluded Monday was down by 10.8 percent from the 2010 total, with three fewer racing days contributing to the drop from the $18,652,950 that was bet over 84 days last year.

The daily average of $205,264 was down by 7.5 percent compared with the $222,058 average in 2010. The ontrack total was $7,075,028, a 9 percent drop from last year’s total of $7,776,219. The daily ontrack average of $87,336 was off by 5.6 percent.

“The Alberta racing industry continues to be challenged, and those challenges certainly reflect in our numbers for the Thoroughbred meet,” said Chris Roberts, venue manager at Northlands. “But, there is a lot of passion for horse racing in Edmonton and within the Northlands family. We’ll spend some time retooling in the off-season and come out swinging in 2012.”

Roberts took over his position as the head of racing after the 2011 meet had started.

“I am confident that we will be position for growth in the coming year,” he said.

Trainer Joan Petrowski was the leading trainer for the first time in her career. She closed out the meet with 48 wins, three more than last year’s leading trainer, Robertino Diodoro. Petrowski is the first woman trainer to win the title since Gail Henry tied with Ron Burrell in 1991.

Rico Walcott captured his first riding title. With 118 wins he was a handy winner over Fernando Perez, who won 99 races. Walcott, 21, follows in the footsteps of his brother Rickey Walcott, who was the leading rider at Northlands four times.