Arlington Ends Meet with Increases in Handle and Attendance

Edited Release from Arlington Park

The 104-dayArlington Park meet concluded with a 12.7 % increase in average daily attendance and a 1.9% rise in overall wagering over last year's numbers.

This year, total attendance was 737,369 compared to 666,834 in 2002 (not including the Breeders' Cup). Average daily attendance this season rose to 7,090 compared to 6,291 last year.

"Everyone at Arlington Park is grateful for the support of our fans, horsemen and employees during this successful 2003 race meet," said Arlington Park President Cliff Goodrich. "The increase in attendance appears to be driven by people relatively new to Thoroughbred racing and indicates that we had great success in attracting new fans to our sport."

Total handle from all sources for the meet was $424,770,925 for a daily average of $4,084,336, surpassing the 2002 daily average for 106 days (not including the Breeders' Cup) of $4,007,779 by $76,561 per day. Last year, a total of $424,824,598 was wagered on the 106 days excluding Breeders' Cup Day.

On-track, average daily wagering decreased by 3.6 % from $580,545 in 2002 (not including the Breeders' Cup) to $559,454 per day in 2003. This year, a total of $58,183,198 was wagered at Arlington Park during the 104-day meet versus $61,537,805 in 106 days during 2002 (not including the Breeders' Cup).

Total handle from all sources in 2002, including the record $116,367,198 wagered worldwide on Breeders' Cup day, was $541,191,796. On-track handle at Arlington Park last year, with the Breeders' Cup total of $13,568,233 bet at the track, totaled $75,106,038.

Owner Frank C. Calabrese fell one win short of equaling his record setting 66 victories in 2002 with 65 scores to earn his fourth consecutive title as the meet's leading owner, 50 better than runner up Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc.

Wayne Catalano, private trainer for Calabrese, captured 59 races (six of Calabrese's victors were trained by Pat Cuccurullo) to pick up his second straight and third Arlington title overall. Chris Block was second in the standings with 29 wins.

Jockey Rene Douglas picked up his third consecutive Arlington riding crown with 132 trips to the winner's circle including seven on one card on July 24. Douglas joined jockeys Steve Brooks (1947-49) and Bill Hartack (1955-57) as one of only three jockeys in history to win three Arlington riding titles in a row. Longtime Chicago-based reinsman Eusebio Razo Jr. enjoyed his best Arlington meet ever, finishing second in the standings with 89 tallies.

Trainer Rebecca Maker was named the meet's "Rising Star" and Russell L. Reineman was honored with the Lifetime Achievement award.