The 59-day Thoroughbred meet at Hoosier Park that included a one-day jockey protest ended Sunday with declines in wagering and an increase in on-track attendance.Total wagering reached $76.9 million, compared to $102.6 million during the 70-day meet in 2003. Average daily handle decreased by 11.1% from 2003, as $1,303,110 was wagered nightly on Hoosier Park's card around the country compared to an average of $1,465,497 in 2003.Average daily on-track handle fell 6.6%t as $76,321 was wagered nightly in 2004 compared to $81,736 in 2003. An additional $18,550 was wagered nightly on the Hoosier Park card at the track's OTB locations around the state, a decrease of 14.2% from 2003. Average daily attendance was 955, which was 4% above last year's figure of 918.
An average of 8.7 starters went to the gate in 2004, compared to 9.1 in 2003. Average daily purses rose 24.8% in 2004, as horsemen raced for an average of $144,756 in 2004 versus $115,982 in 2003. Total purses distributed in 2004 amounted to $8,540,624, an increase of 5.2% from the 70-day meet in 2003."Early in the meet we had difficulty attracting horses, and that led to smaller fields and less handle," said Hoosier Park president and general Manager Rick Moore. "We also lost a day of racing Nov. 12 when jockeys refused to ride as a means to protest the amount of insurance coverage provided by racetracks. By the end of the meet, we were back to fuller fields and higher handle levels."