INGLEWOOD, Calif.- Handle soared by 8.9 percent to a record daily average of $11,335,575 as Hollywood Park closed its 63-day Spring/Summer Meet Sunday with impressive increases in on-track business over the 61-day meeting in 2006.
The record daily average handle, which eclipsed the mark of $11.1 million set in 2002, included an increase of 1.3 percent on-track for an average of $1,697,597. On-track attendance increased 4.8 percent to an average of 6,443. On-track per capita wagering was $263.
“I was pleased by our on-track efforts where the average daily attendance and handle figures were up, especially when, unfortunately, those figures were down off-track in Southern California,” track president Jack Liebau said. “The increase in advance deposit wagering (27 percent) was certainly important to the overall success of our meet. All and all, we are very pleased with the results.”
Friday night on-track business surged, led by CashCall Mile night when an on-track crowd of 14,683 helped generate total handle of $11,080,256. On-track attendance for the 11 evening programs averaged 9,689, an increase of 32.7 percent from the figure of 7,300 a year ago. On-track Friday night handle averaged $1,469,767, a 12.7 increase, while total Friday night handle increased by 13.6 percent to an average of $8,733,971. Friday night per capita wagering was $152.
The increase in business spiked when a Kentucky Derby Day record $27.7 million was wagered on May 5, shattering the mark of $26.7 million – the largest single-day handle in California in 2006. The Derby Day handle is the highest in California to date in 2007. The per capita wagering of $349 helped generate the second-highest handle in Hollywood Park’s 68-year history, surpassed only when the track was host to the Breeders’ Cup in 1997. A record $20,774,020 was wagered on Preakness Day, breaking the mark of $19,178,524 set in 2005.
Lava Man’s successful bid to match legendary Native Diver with his third consecutive Hollywood Gold Cup victory generated a Gold Cup record handle of $22,058,795, a 44 percent increase from the figure of $15,292,324 in 2006. The previous record of $18,272,223 was set in 2003.
The biggest non-holiday weekday handle in track history came Monday, July 2, when a record four-day Pick Six carryover of $3,274,505.48 generated a single-day record Pick Six handle of $7,596,347.12 and a record Pick Six pool of $10,870,852.60.
Total handle was $18,407,581. Thirteen perfect tickets were worth $576,064.40 each, while 807 consolation tickets with five winners each were worth $2,240.40. A single winning ticket would have paid a record $7.4 million.
Eight of the tickets were purchased in California with investments ranging from $2 to $14,400. A father/daughter team had two perfect tickets at Los Alamitos – one on a $2 ticket and one on a $4 ticket. There was a $24 winning ticket at Victorville and a $432 winning ticket at Santa Anita. At Hollywood Park, one player cashed twice, once with a $768 ticket and once on a $960 wager.
The previous record Pick Six pool of $7,303,848 was set on March 3, 2004, at Santa Anita Park when a three-day carryover of $1,413,136.14 generated an additional Pick Six handle of $5,889,712.The former single-day North American record Pick Six pool of $6,494,193 was set when there was a $5-million guarantee on Breeders’ Cup Day in 1998.
Purses at the meet averaged a record $448,343, breaking the mark of $418,769 in 2002. Field size was on par with an average of 8.1 starters per race. On Cushion Track, fields averaged 8.4 starters per race compared to an average of 8.05 per race on the main track a year ago.
Lava Man, who won the Gold Cup by a nose over A.P. Xcellent, was voted Horse of the Meet in the annual media poll, while Michael Baze was leading jockey with 73 wins and Jeff Mullins and Doug O’Neill tied for leading trainer with 26 wins each.