The boutique Del Mar meet continued on a successful note entering its final full week of racing with sizeable increases in ontrack and all-sources wagering, though attendance was down slightly from 2011.
The seaside California track reported the meet's highlight−the 22nd running of the Paicific Classic (gr. I) won by Dullahan Aug. 26−drew 34,482 patrons, with total pari-mutuel handle of $22,363,307, the seventh-highest single day figure in track history. Pacific Classic day attendance was up 23.4% from last year's figure, and the handle represented a 17.8% gain from a year ago.
For the second-to-last full week of the session, ontrack handle rose 27.5% while all-sources handle was up 16.9%. For the first six weeks of the meet, ontrack handle increased 16.2% from 2011 (a daily average of $2,395,346 this year compared with $2,061,273 last year), and all-sources betting wasup 8.1% ($12,019,469 daily average in 2012 versus $11,122,904 in 2011).
"With six weeks now in the books, we can confidently say that there will be a substantial retroactive purse payment for everyone who earns overnight purse money at this meeting," Del Mar executive vice president and chief financial officer Mike Ernst said.. "And that goes forward all the way to the end of the meet."
After six weeks, average daily attendance of 18,209 represented a slight decrease from the 18,492 figure for the same period a year ago.
Average field size of 8.5 horses per race was above the 8.24 average through six weeks in 2011. The track's "Ship and Win" program, which provides enhanced purse earnings for out-of-state horses, had benefited 121 horses through Aug. 26, compared with 91 a year ago.
The Del Mar meet concludes Wednesday, Sept. 5.