Del Mar Racing

Del Mar Racing

Benoit Photo

Del Mar Posts Attendance, Handle Declines

Southern California oval will host first-ever autumn meet in November.

Ending an impressive victory by American Pharoah  in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I), the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club concluded its 36-day meet Sept. 3 with declines of 7.3% in average daily wagering and 6.3% in attendance.

Preliminary final figures showed that the wagering averaged $12,087,844, compared with an average of $13,036,132 daily during the 37-day meet in 2013. Attendance averaged 16,535 patrons per day in 2014 compared to 17,656 in 2013.

The seaside track that will host its first-ever autumn meet Nov. 7-30 reported average daily on-track handle was off 11.3% at $2,174,588, compared with $2,452,080 in 2013. California advanced deposit wagering was up slightly to $1,979,319 ($1,977,021 in '13).

With the addition of several new mini-satellite locations in the southern half of the state, ITW handle registered in the plus column at $3,988,833 in '14 ($3,973,557 in '13).

Del Mar said total purse money for the seven-week session is estimated to reach $26,030,000, meaning a daily average purse figure of $723,000, eclipsing the track's record figures of 2013.

Average field size of 8.8 horses for the 326 races contested this year was unchanged from the average for 328 races in 2013. Del Mar reported that its popular "Ship & Win" incentive program drew 187 out-of-state runners, a 26% jump from the 149 starters it lured in 2013.

"In 2013 we had one of the finest seasons in Del Mar history," track president Joe Harper noted. "This year we rode the roller coaster a bit, but overall we're happy with another fine meeting. Our horsemen responded wonderfully to what was offered and the racing, as always, was topnotch. Now we've got an exciting new fall season to look forward to."

Among individual achievements, Rafael Bejarano won his fourth riding title with 42 wins and Jerry Hollendorfer and Peter Miller tied for the training title with 20 victories each.

Kosta and Pete Hronis, who race under Hronis Racing, won both the owners' categories of purses with $633,490 and wins, with eight.

Undefeated Shared Belief, who defeated older horses in an impressive victory in the TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I), was unanimous choice among media for top horse of the meet.