Calder On-Track Averages Downs Slightly; Overall Handle Improves

(Edited press release)
Calder Race Course concluded its 112-day Calder Meet on Sunday, Oct. 15, with gains in average daily inter-track, intrastate, and combined mutuel handle. Since there were eight fewer days of live racing than the 2005 Calder meet, daily averages in wagering and attendance are used for year-over-year comparisons. On-track attendance and average daily on-track wagering on Calder's live racing program were down slightly from last year.

Total combined handle on Calder's live races was $328,429,957, which includes money wagered on-track and at other racetracks and simulcast locations around the country. This represents a daily average of $2,932,410, a 1.99% increase over last year's daily average of $2,875,208.

Total on-track attendance on live racing days was 461,715, a daily average of 4,122 and a 3.01% decrease from the daily average of 4,250 in 2005. Total on-track handle on Calder's live races was $40,396,907 for a daily average of $360,687, relatively flat to last year's daily average of $361,489.

For six weeks during the summer, Calder experimented with a three-day live racing week, resulting in eight fewer racing days for the season compared to 2005. From July 31 to Aug. 27, live racing was conducted on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in an attempt to increase field sizes and purses. Both goals were met during the time period with average field sizes swelling to 9.0 horses.

Average field size for the entire meet was 7.55 horses, down slightly from the 7.62 starters per race in 2005. At the beginning of the meet in April, not all barns in the stable area were ready for occupancy as repairs were still being made to areas of the track damaged by Hurricane Wilma in October 2005.

"While our daily attendance dropped slightly, on-track wagering on our live races held relatively steady this season, and our overall results were helped by strong full-card wagering by customers at Calder and around the state at other simulcast locations," said Calder president Ken Dunn. "Additionally, by reducing the number of days we raced in August this year, we increased average field size during that period and increased wagering on our simulcast signal both in-state and at simulcast outlets around the country. Our August gains helped boost our meet-end daily averages for inter-track and inter-state wagering. We are pleased with the initial results from our abbreviated mid-summer schedule and are looking at ways to duplicate and, hopefully, improve upon our 2006 results next year."

Total race purses for the meet grew to $26,544,075 from $25,264,557 last year. Average daily purses were up 12.57 percent to $237,001, compared to the daily average of $210,538 a year earlier.

Meet end honors went to owner Richard Averill with 22 victories; it was his first Calder title. Bill White won his 10th leading trainer title at Calder having lead the standings in 1993 and then every year from 1997 to 2004. His runners won 50 races at the 2006 meet. Manoel Cruz was the runaway leading jockey of the season with 197 winners, 95 more than the second place jockey, Jeffrey Sanchez. It was Cruz' second Calder title as his first came in 2003.