09/28/2003 11:00PM

Opening day near projections


ARCADIA, Calif. - Attendance and handle figures on Sunday's opening day of the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting and closing day of the Los Angeles County Fair meeting at Fairplex Park in Pomona were near expectations, but an Oak Tree official stressed that a similar overlap for the two tracks is unlikely in the future.

Earlier this year, Oak Tree requested a Sunday opening to run four preps for the Breeders' Cup a month before the Oct. 25 championship day at Santa Anita. Sherwood Chillingworth, the executive vice president of Oak Tree, said there are no plans for a repeat request when the Breeders' Cup is run in other states.

"I don't think we would," he said. "We won't be hosting the Breeders' Cup next year."

Sunday's ontrack attendance at Santa Anita was 20,317, while overall handle, including statewide and nationwide sources, was $9,156,393. The ontrack handle was $2,721,092. The attendance was comparable to one of the better days at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.

Fairplex Park's handle of $6,566,782 was "pretty close to what we expected," said racing manager George Bradvica. "I think we pretty much reached our target."

As part of the arrangement to run on Sunday, Oak Tree agreed to compensate Fairplex if it suffered a loss in business.

Chillingworth said it was unclear how much Oak Tree would compensate the Los Angeles County Fair, but he said there "probably would be" a payment.

He said final data would not be available until later in the week, after revenue from various sources - including telephone and Internet betting, as well as "hot dogs and admission" - are included.

"I think we would come out where it would be a break-even for us and Pomona will make what they made last year," Chillingworth said. "I think between what was bet here at Oak Tree and at Fairplex Park that we were right at our projected number. We think it was a satisfactory start."

At Santa Anita, the day also marked the debut of an all-electronic scoreboard that allows up to 14 betting interests to be shown simultaneously. Previously, only 12 betting interests could be shown at a time.