Hollywood Park closed its 64th Spring/Summer Meet Sunday virtually on par with its record meet of 2002 as common pool wagering totaled $688,581,157, down just .05 percent from the figure of $688,935,976 a year ago. The daily average was $10.593 million, compared to $10.599 in 2002.Advance deposit wagering (ADW) increased by 43 percent to $32,822,041 for the 65-day meeting, which compared to $22,936,226 in 2002. On-track, business declined as the daily handle of $1,852,822 was down 6.3 percent and the daily attendance of 8,498 was down 6.9 percent from 2002."While I'm sure ADW has had an impact, we can't forget the $5-billion Indian gaming industry, which has sprung up overnight," track president Rick Baedeker said. The popularity of Hollywood Park's signal, widely distributed through the Churchill Downs Simulcast Network, grew with record interstate wagering of $274,740,167 for a record daily average of $4,226,772, up 3.2 percent. The previous standards of $266,343,795 and $4,097,596 were established in 2002.Kentucky Derby Day once again generated the highest single-day handle of the meeting, but with inclement weather the 2003 figure of $22.5 million was down 5 percent from $23.8 million in 2002."We had some bad luck with rain on Derby day, but we're ending on a high note after having the privilege of hosting Laffit Pincay's official retirement party on Gold Cup Day," Baedeker said.
Purses averaged a record $424,498 as the Hollywood Park stakes program produced strong handle numbers on Memorial Day ($18.2 million), Hollywood Gold Cup Day ($17.7 million), American Oaks Day ($17.3 million), Gold Rush Day ($17.2 million), Californian Day ($15.6 million) and on Jim Murray Memorial Handicap Day ($15.3 million).Jockey Patrick Valenzuela and trainer Doug O'Neill, meanwhile, were easy winners in their divisions. Valenzuela rode 81 winners to win his second straight Spring/Summer title, while O'Neill won his second straight Hollywood title and first Spring/Summer crown with 37 wins, the most since the late Laz Barrera saddled 37 winners in 1979.