Del Mar Meet Delivers Second-Highest Handle

Del Mar Meet Delivers Second-Highest Handle
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Del Mar closed its 2007 meeting Sept. 5 – and its first with a synthetic surface – with its second-highest gross handle ever and a small increase in attendance, the Southern California track reported.

A total of $601,453,672 was wagered during the 43-day season, yielding a daily average of $13,987,295 – 3.2% higher than recorded in 2006. The gross total and daily average for 2007 trails only the $608,168,297 and $14,143,449 figures registered during the 2005 meet.

Daily averages have increased 18.9% since the $11,768,295 in 2000. Average attendance at the oceanside track increased 0.4% to 16,719, 17.3% higher than recorded in 2000.

"We did well in the counting house, but best of all we did well on the racetrack," said Del Mar Thoroughbred Club's president and general manager Joe Harper in a news release. "We took an educated chance with Polytrack – with no guarantees that it would do all that we'd hoped, or how it would affect our business. But it has performed wonderfully and the response to it by our horsemen and our fans tells us we've backed a winner."

Del Mar officials, who switched the track's dirt oval to Polytrack, reported a decline in catastrophic injuries by more than 50%, a move they said validated the decision to spend $9 million to install the synthetic surface.

Among the seasonal highlights was a gala opening-day crowd of 42,842, the largest opener in track history and the second-highest crowd of all time.

The track established a single-day handle mark around its Pacific Classic Day card Aug. 19 of $24,667,351. The track also finished strongly with a closing day handle of $22,482,320, its fourth-highest all time.

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