Edited press releases
Del Mar raced to a handy conclusion to its 20-day fall race meet — its second “Bing Crosby Season” — Sunday afternoon. Total handle for the five-week stand when compared to last fall’s four-week, 15-day numbers showed notable gains in most categories.
The total handle for the meet was $195,737,812, a boost of 26.4 percent over 2014’s final number of $154,914,430. Average daily handle for the 20 days was $9,786,891, down 5.2 percent from the 15-day average in 2014 was $10,327,629.
The track’s overall attendance was 123,608 for a daily average of 6,180, a 31.8 percent decline in the daily average of 9,055 from 2014. The total in 2014 was 135,829. The track’s attendance was negatively impacted on its opening weekend when it played host to the two Breeders’ Cup days held at Keeneland in Kentucky, which proved to be primarily a simulcast event.
Del Mar’s riding champion — once more — was Rafael Bejarano with 20 winners in 20 days, besting Santiago Gonzalez’s 18 firsts. Top trainer for the session was Doug O’Neill, who had 15 wins. Peter Miller and Phil D’Amato dead-heated for second with 13 winners.
Boosted by competitive fields and an increase in horsemen shipping to South Florida early, Gulfstream Park West registered a 19 percent increase in average handle during its 40-day Fall Turf Festival meet, which ended Saturday, and an 8 percent increase in total handle.
The increases come with four fewer days of racing from 2014.
Average handle on Gulfstream West was up from $2.988 million in 2014 to $3.556 million this year while total handle on Gulfstream West climbed to $142.260 million from $131.486 million in 2014.
“We’re pleased with the increase in betting at Gulfstream Park West,” said P.J. Campo, Vice President of Racing for The Stronach Group and General Manager of Gulfstream. “We continue to see great support from horsemen throughout North America. Our efforts to continue to build a strong, year-round program shows in the growing interest in Gulfstream Park West.
“We’ll continue growing the year-round product in Florida while focusing the next several months on our Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park.”
Gulfstream’s Championship Meet, featuring a record 73 stakes races and $11.61 million in purses, begins Saturday with the $1.1 million Claiming Crown.