Hollywood Park closed its 63-day spring meet July 15 with a record average in all-sources handle, fueled by increases in on-track handle and advance deposit wagering, the Inglewood, Calif. racetrack reported.
The record daily average of $11,335,575 was an 8.9% increase over 2006. The average, which eclipsed the mark of $11.1 million set in 2002, included an increase of 1.3% in on-track daily average to $1,697,597.
“I was pleased by our on-track efforts where the average daily attendance and handle figures were up, especially when, unfortunately, those figures were down off-track in Southern California,” track president Jack Liebau said. “The increase in advance deposit wagering (27%) was certainly important to the overall success of our meet.”
Wagering on the May 5 Kentucky Derby Day card was a record $27.7, bettering the previous year’s total of $26.7. The Derby Day handle is the highest in California to date in 2007. The per capita wagering of $349 helped generate the second-highest handle in Hollywood Park’s 68-year history, surpassed only when the track was host to the Breeders’ Cup in 1997. A record $20,774,020 was wagered on the May 19 Preakness Day card, breaking the previous mark of $19,178,524 set in 2005.
On-track attendance for the meet increased 4.8% to an average of 6,443. On-track per capita wagering was $263. Purses averaged a record $448,343, breaking the mark of $418,769 set in 2002. Field size was on par with 2006 at an average of 8.1 starters per race. On Cushion Track, fields averaged 8.4 starters per race compared to an average of 8.05 per race on the main track a year ago.
Friday night on-track business surged, led by CashCall Mile night when an on-track crowd of 14,683 helped generate total handle of $11,080,256. On-track attendance for the 11 evening programs averaged 9,689, an increase of 32.7% from the figure of 7,300 a year ago. On-track Friday night handle averaged $1,469,767, a 12.7 increase, while total Friday night handle increased by 13.6% to an average of $8,733,971. Friday night per capita wagering was $152.
Lava Man’s successful bid to match legendary Native Diver with his third consecutive Hollywood Gold Cup victory generated a Gold Cup record handle of $22,058,795, a 44% increase from the figure of $15,292,324 in 2006. The previous record of $18,272,223 was set in 2003.
Hollywood Park was the site of a record four-day Pick Six carryover of $3,274,505.48, which on July 2 generated a single-day record Pick Six handle of $7,596,347.12 and a record Pick Six pool of $10,870,852.60. Total handle was $18,407,581.
The previous record Pick Six pool of $7,303,848 was set on March 3, 2004, at Santa Anita Park when a three-day carryover of $1,413,136.14 generated an additional Pick Six handle of $5,889,712.The former single-day North American record Pick Six pool of $6,494,193 was set when there was a $5-million guarantee on Breeders’ Cup Day in 1998.
Lava Man, who won the Gold Cup by a nose over A.P. Xcellent, was voted Horse of the Meet in the annual media poll, while Michael Baze was leading jockey with 73 wins and Jeff Mullins and Doug O’Neill tied for leading trainer with 26 wins each.