10/24/2006 11:00PM

Remington business boosted by casino

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Remington Park opened a casino the final week of November 2005, and since then has recorded significant gains in handle. A high point came Oct. 20, when Remington handled a meet-best $1,783,106 on its Oklahoma Derby card, which included six stakes. The live handle contributed to the highest all-source handle at Remington since 1999.

With handle on incoming simulcasts added to the live take, the total handle Friday night was $1,988,873, the highest total since the $2,270,264 that was handled by Remington from all sources on Oklahoma Derby Day in 1999. Attendance for the races last Friday night, including casino patrons, was 10,891.

Interest in Remington's races during the current Thoroughred meet has not just been on big days. Through last week, the track was averaging $821,782 a day in handle on its live races. Last year, daily handle on the track's live Thoroughbred races averaged $549,701.

The handle increase is boosting purses, as are casino revenues. Since the opening of the casino last November, $13.6 million has been earned for Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse purses, said Scott Wells, vice president and general manager of Remington. The income helped lift Remington's purses from $100,000 a day last year, to $185,000 a day this meet, an average that is expected to grow again for the Thoroughbred meet in 2007.

Remington was granted a 69-date meet for Thoroughbreds next year, and the makeup of the race week will be a little different than the schedule in place at the current meet. Remington now races every Friday, Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday. Next year, the track will race Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Wells said.

The other programs will be run at night, as most cards have this year. Remington will run Thoroughbreds from Aug. 2 to Dec. 1, 2007. There will be a Quarter Horse meet from March 9 through June 3.

* Mr. Pursuit, winner of the Oklahoma Derby, could make his next start in the $75,000 Governor's Cup at Remington on Nov. 28, said his trainer, Joe Petalino.