Both on-track attendance and handle increased in 2006 as the 38th Oak Tree Racing Association meet concluded at Santa Anita Oct. 29.On-track attendance for the 26-day meeting averaged 9,125 per day, a 5% increase from last year. The average on-track handle was about $2 million per day, a 1% improvement from 2005. Oak Tree's on-track increases follows the success demonstrated at the 2005-06 Santa Anita winter/spring meeting. Oak Tree conducted a 26-day meet this year, five dates fewer than last year's 31-day stand. Despite the reduction in race days and the absence of one of 2005's biggest business days – the Breeders' Cup world Championships to be run Nov. 4 this year – the 2006 meeting got off to a fast start and the momentum continued into closing weekend.The opening day crowd of 14,008 was a 48% percent increase over last year's 9,489 and the first two weekends, which showcased a total of eight Breeders' Cup prep races, also showed marked increases in on-track attendance and handle over 2005."We concentrated our marketing efforts much more heavily on opening day this year and the results were very gratifying," said Sherwood Chillingworth, Oak Tree director and executive vice president. "We had a new, aggressive television campaign and our 'Day on Us' on-track promotion really paid dividends throughout the meet. Additionally, with the Breeders' Cup itself running a little bit later this year, we were able to provide horsemen with a three to four week cushion leading into Breeders' Cup day, which provided added incentive to our horsemen to run here in preparation for racing's biggest day."
Oak Tree reported only on-track figures for the just-concluded meet.