Hollywood Reports Declines at Autumn Meet

(From track report)
Hollywood Park made gains following a disappointing opening weekend due to rain, but was unable to erase the deficit. Attendance and handle figures were down from 2001 following Sunday's conclusion of the 35-day Autumn Meet.

Combined handle, down 11 percent after torrential rain virtually washed out the opening weekend, gradually climbed to an average of $9,111,812, coming within 2.9 percent of matching the 31-day average of $9,383,251 in 2001. Handle from all sources (commingled and separate pool) totaled $338,156,025, an average of $9,661,600, down 2.5 percent from 2001.

On-track handle, down 26 percent after the slow start, also improved, but the final average of $1,444,595 was down 13.7 percent. The decrease in on-track handle was offset by gains through advance deposit wagering. The advance deposit wagering average of $374,937 exceeded the $229,590 decrease in the on-track average.

On-track attendance, down 24 percent after opening weekend, averaged 6,458 for the meeting, a decrease of 10.5 percent.

"The inclement weather opening weekend proved to be too much to overcome," Hollywood Park president Rick Baedeker said. "Opening Friday night was a near total loss. After that, we rallied but fell short."

Purses for the meeting totaled $13,270,510, an average of $379,157. The average field size of 7.4 was down slightly from the figure of 7.6 in 2001.

Trainer Doug O'Neill won his first major training title with 16 wins at the Autumn Meet.

Victor Espinoza and Alex Solis each rode 34 winners to tie for leading jockey honors. The title was the ninth for Solis and the third for Espinoza at Hollywood Park. Laffit Pincay Jr. finished third with 30 wins.