Handle Down, Attendance Up at Close of Fair Grounds Meet

(Edited release from track)

Fair Grounds Race Course concluded its 131st season of racing March 31 with attendance up slightly and handle downs both on-track and from all sources.

In the 84-day meet, a total of $357.5 million, or an average of $4.26 million per day, was wagered on Fair Grounds races. That represented a 5.4% decline from last year's average of $4.5 million.

The average daily attendance was 2,217 was up 0.6% from last season though handle declined, indicative of the increasing methods to wager away from the track. On-track handle totaled $19.3 million or $230,326 per day, a drop of 9.9%. Wagers made on track through Fair Grounds accounts are included in on-track handle numbers.

Purses exceeded the $260,000-per day mark for the fifth consecutive season. The total purse distribution of $22.03 million represented an average of $262,267 per day, a 2.7% drop from last season.

Lady Tak, was voted horse of the meeting in balloting of media and racing officials. Lady Tak won the Thelma and Tiffany Lass Stakes before winning the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II).

Steve Asmussen captured his third consecutive Fair Grounds trainers' title with 63 wins. Tom Amoss was second with 50 wins, his 11th top-two finish in Fair Grounds' trainer standings.

Jockey Robby Albarado won 102 races for his fourth Fair Grounds riding title in six years. Albarado won 11 stakes, one shy of the track record. Corey Lanerie was second in the standings with 92 wins.

Frank Calabrese won his first Fair Grounds owner's title with 17 wins, two more than Coast to Coast racing stable.