Tropical at Calder Meet Shows Gains in Every Category

Calder Racecourse experienced gains in on-track attendance and wagering and overall handle during the 52-day Tropical at Calder meet.

The Churchill Downs Inc.-owned track reported that on-track attendance climbed by 4.7 % to total 262,918, for a daily average of 5,056 patrons. On-track handle increased 1.4 % to $25,241,002, for a daily average of $485,404.

Wagering from all sources on all days (including full-card simulcasting only days) was a Tropical at Calder all-time record $300,961,190, up 7 % from the $280,619,744 total of last year and up 6.2 % from the previous meet record set during the 1997-98 season.

"We've had an incredible year," said Calder president Ken Dunn. "We were up in every category during the Calder meet, with even fewer days than the previous year. To carry that success right on through the Tropical at Calder meet, an outstanding meet all by itself, is very rewarding, especially considering the state of the economy over the last several months. We're proud that our special racing events have given us the results we were looking for."

Mike Cronin, Calder's vice president of marketing, said the attendance increase indicated Calder is on the track in offering patrons what they want. "We're especially pleased with our healthy increase in attendance for the entire year," Cronin said. "Our fans let us know what they like, and we interpret their continued support as a sign that we're on the right track in offering a popular racing product, challenging wagering opportunities and special events and promotions that appeal to new patrons as well as long-time customers."

Dan Hurtak edged Emanuel Tortora for leading trainer honors, with 19 winners. Farnsworth Farm owner Michael Sherman and the Monarch Stables of Frank and Joanne Bertolino each had 11 wins to top the owners' list. The meet's top rider was Cornelio Velasquez, with 60 wins from 297 mounts.