Hollywood Park Handle, Attendance Spiral

Edited release from Hollywood Park
Hollywood Park finished its spring/summer meet Sunday with an 9.4% increase in on-track attendance and record averages for combined common pool handle ($10,599,015) and all sources handle ($11,136,784).

The combined handle average -- up 4.5% from 2001 -- broke the previous mark of $10,384,708, which was established in 1999. Handle from all sources (common pool and separate pool) was up 4.1% from 2001 and .04% from the previous record average of $11,057,234 established in 1999.

On-track attendance totaled 593,441 for the 65-day meeting, an average of 9,130, compared to 8,345 in 2001. On-track handle fell by 4.1% to an average of $1.9 million, but it was more than offset by gains through account wagering. The $352,865 account wagering average dwarfed the $83,510 decrease in the on-track average.

"Account wagering exceeded our projections," track president Rick Baedeker said. "It gradually increased throughout the meeting, a trend we believe will continue through Del Mar."

Hollywood Park's signal, widely distributed through the Churchill Downs Simulcasting Network, also attained record highs as out-of-state handle averaged $4,097,596, an increase of 6.6% from 2001. Purses averaged a record $418,769.

Patrick Valenzuela, meanwhile, indicated his comeback is for real by winning his first Hollywood Park title since the 1991 Autumn Meet. Valenzuela rode 74 winners, to finish ahead of a fast-finishing Alex Solis (61). Pincay, tied with Kent Desormeaux as leading stakes jockey at the 2002 meeting with seven wins and defending riding champion, finished third with 49 wins.

Bobby Frankel won his 13th Hollywood Park training title by saddling 23 winners. He also led all trainers with eight stakes wins, including triumphs in five graded events. Laura De Seroux was second with four stakes wins, but all came in Grade I races with the brilliant tandem of 4-year-old filly Azeri (Milady and Vanity) and 6-year-old mare Astra (Gamely and Beverly Hills).