Numbers Up at Short Meadowlands Meet

The Meadowlands 28-day Thoroughbred meet concluded Saturday with solid gains in both total and on-track handle.

Total handle, which includes on-track and wagering on the Meadowlands races at simulcast locations, averaged $2,086,140 for the comparable period in 2002, an increase of 18.7 percent. The on-track portion of that handle averaged $407,389, equal to last year.

Attendance at the meet was up six percent over the comparable dates last year with an average of 4,274.

"Bucking the national trend, we were able to put up some nice numbers this meet," said Robert Kulina, vice president for thoroughbred racing. "It was a short meet but one that the fans embraced and that was evident by the handle numbers."

Eddie Broome, who was leading conditioner at the track in 1997, 1998 and 2000, took home the awards for both leading owner and trainer for the meet. Broome trainees accounted for 13 victories, eight seconds and seven thirds from 39 starters and earned $117,120.

The leading rider at the meet by a margin of 10 victories was Chuck Lopez, who piloted 31 winners along with 31 seconds and 14 thirds from 152 mounts for earnings of $613,547. Lopez last won the Meadowlands jockeys' title in 1979 as an apprentice.

Field size was up 1.5 percent from 2002 for an average of 7.75 horses per race.