Calder Meet Numbers Dip

Attendance and wagering figures at the recently concluded Calder Race Course meet were down despite the popularity of the track's marquee events--the Summit of Speed and Festival of the Sun.

On-track attendance for the 128-day meet near Miami, Fla., totaled 597,648 (daily average of 4,669), a 4.2% drop from 2002 figures. Daily on-track handle on Calder races totaled $397.369, a 6.8% plunge from year-ago figures. Daily average combined inter-track wagering and inter-state wagering was $2,965, 340, 4.6% lower than 2002. The combined daily average total handle reached $3,868,751, down 3%.

The fourth annual Summit of Speed, held July 12, handled $10,541,440, an all-time total handle record at Calder. The Summit drew 10,760 on-track, the highest in the event's history. The Oct. 11 Festival of the Sun brought 14,846 out to the track, who bet a total of $7,707,125.

Bill White headed the trainer standings with 52 wins from 225 starters, 12 better than Eddie Plesa Jr. White won his seventh consecutive Calder title and eighth overall. White has taken more meetings than any trainer in Calder history. Among his stakes winners were French Village, Stolen Time, and Zak's Precocious.

The leading owner of the meet was Michael Sherman, whose 36 victories outpaced runner-up Monarch Stables Inc. by 14 wins. Sherman was winning his second consecutive Calder title. He owns Farnsworth Farms.

Manoel Cruz proved the top jockey at the meet, piling up 174 victories from 839 mounts. Eddie Castro totaled 161 for second. Cruz was the leading rider at Tampa Bay Downs before coming to Calder. He is a native of Brazil.

The 53-day Tropical at Calder meet began Oct. 25 and runs through Jan. 2.