Hollywood Park concluded its autumn meet Monday with a 4.8% increase in attendance and a 2.8% increase in total handle. The growth was particularly encouraging since it rained during the Southern California's 11th annual Turf Festival, the biggest day of the meet.
"Perhaps this meet is an indicator of the future," said Rick Baedeker, Hollywood Park's president. "We hope Santa Anita has a good, strong meet and we can continue the momentum right into the spring."
Average daily on-track attendance was 7,214 for the 31-day meet, up from the average 6,880 seen during the 35-day autumn meet last year. Intertrack attendance dipped a slight 0.8% to an average 9,701, and total average daily attendance rose 1.5% to 16,915.
On-track handle decreased a mere 0.8% to an average $1,674,186. Off-track business was much stronger with intertrack wagering rising 3.5% to an average $3,739,542 and the interstate handle rising 3.8% to an average $3,969,523.
Total handle for the meet was $9,383,251, the second highest in meet history excluding Breeders' Cup years. The handle was up 2.8% from last year.
Lake William overtook favored Texas Glitter in the final strides to win the $72,450 Dayjur Handicap by one length on closing day of Hollywood Park's autumn meet.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza and carrying 116 pounds, Lake William covered 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf in 1:02 2/5, and paid $8.60, $3.20 and $3.
Texas Glitter, carrying high weight of 118 pounds, returned $2.40 and $2.20. Texas Glitter won the race last year.
Shadow Caster, a 66-1 long shot, finished third the race for 3-year-olds and up and paid $5.40 to show.
The win was the fifth in 14 lifetime starts for Lake William and was worth $43,470, raising the career earnings of the 5-year-old son of Salt Lake to $233,361.
Meanwhile, Siphonic, who moved to the top of the West Coast contenders' list for next year's Kentucky Derby as a result of his Futurity win, was selected "Horse of the Meeting" in the annual poll among media covering Hollywood Park's meet.
Momentum, the 3-year-old European import who won the Native Diver Handicap while racing on dirt for the first time, was voted the meet's top handicap horse. Grass horse honors went to Super Quercus, the Hollywood Turf Cup Champion.
After Bob Baffert and Bobby Frankel each notched autumn meet training records, Baffert was a narrow winner in the top trainer category. His 22 victories bettered the meet record of 19 recorded by Bob Hess Jr. in 1992. Frankel equaled the late Charlie Whittingham's mark of six stakes wins set in 1984.
Alex Solis, the 31-day meet's leading rider with 30 wins, comfortably outpolled Kent Desormeaux, Laffit Pincay Jr. and Chris McCarron as the meet's top rider. Elvis Trujillo was selected top apprentice jockey. McCarron surpassed Bill Shoemaker as Hollywood Park's all-time leading stakes-winning jockey with 282 victories.
Winners in other categories: Older filly/mare - Starine; Sprinter - Swept Overboard; Claiming horse - Misanello; 3-year-old - Denon; 3-year-old male - Denon; 3-year-old filly - Starrer; 2-year-old filly - Habibti.