Del Mar Handle, Attendance Dip From Last Season

Del Mar officials said the second half of the Southern California racetrack's 43-day meet helped offset on-track declines caused by unusual heat and humidity early in the season.

Total handle of $582,604,451 was the second highest in Del Mar history, down 4.3% from the record $608,916,117 last year for a 43-day meet. Daily average handle of $13,548,941 was down 4.9% from the record $14,160,840 set in 2005.

At wagering outlets throughout California, daily average handle (including in-state account wagering) was $5,124,953, down 6.1% from $5,459,097 last year. Account wagering was more than $4 million less than last year; the daily average fell from $1,261,534 to $1,171,761.

Daily average out-of-state handle was $5,298,826, down 3% from $5,464,666 in 2005. Account wagering from out-of-state sources, however, was up from $359,006 a day last year to $397,240.

Del Mar president and general manager Joe Harper indicated heat and humidity contributed to declines in on-track business. Daily average on-track attendance was 16,658, down 2% from 17,007 last year. Though attendance was impacted early, opening day was strong with 42,005 patrons, an opening-day record and second largest figure in track history.

"Everything considered, this was another highly successful season," Harper said in a statement. "The warm temperatures and humidity definitely had an effect on our attendance early on, but I'm pleased that we were able to stage a comeback in the final few weeks. And, of course, we're gratified for the support from owners and trainers in maintaining our field sizes at a level comparable to last season."