11/12/2009 1:00AM

Retama sees handle drop

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Retama Park near San Antonio closed out its 32-night meet last weekend with a 4.8 percent decline in average daily handle on its live races, but a 9 percent increase in average daily attendance. The meet ended Nov. 7.

Retama handled an average $656,447 a night on its races from all sources compared with $690,016 during a 35-night fall meet in 2008. By category, handle on Retama's races offtrack averaged $586,810 a night this meet, down 4 percent. Handle on the live card ontrack averaged $69,637 a night, down 15 percent. Retama drew an average of 2,198 patrons a card this meet, compared with 2,024 during the same season in 2008.

"Our attendance numbers for the live racing period were actually encouraging . . . ," Bryan Brown, chief executive officer of Retama, said in a release, "but with a struggling economy and rising unemployment, our fan base had fewer dollars to spend."

Trainer Danny Pish won his 12th training title at Retama with 23 wins from 127 starts. His stable earned $255,888. The leading jockey for the fourth straight Retama meet was Eguard Tejera, who won 36 races from 197 mounts. His starters earned $353,222. The leading owner was Anjo Racing.

One of the highlights of the meet was an Oct. 24 sweep of Retama's premiere open-company races, the $100,000 El Joven and $100,000 La Senorita, by the owner-trainer-jockey team of Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Mike Maker and Julien Leparoux.