01/02/2002 1:00AM

Tropical-at-Calder hits record


MIAMI - The 2001-02 Tropical-at-Calder meeting ended Tuesday showing substantial gains in all categories, topped by a record combined mutuel handle of $224,701,909, an increase of more than 7 percent from last year.

Average ontrack attendance of 5,056 for the 52-day session was up nearly 5 percent from 2000-01, while ontrack handle showed an increase of 1.4 percent, averaging $485,404 per day.

"With the other Florida tracks' attendance being down last year leading into our meets, we were a bit concerned about the erosion of the fan base. So we're especially pleased with our healthy increase," said Mike Cronin, Calder's vice president and director of marketing.

Dan Hurtak won his first Tropical training title, winning two races on closing day to to nose out Manny Tortora 19-18.

Cornelio Velasquez took Tropical's riding championship with 60 victories, 10 more than Manny Aguilar. Eclipse Award-winning breeder Michael Sherman (Farnsworth Farms) and perennial Calder leader Monarch Stable shared the owner's title with 11 wins apiece.