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Handle Continues to Climb at Del Mar

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On-track handle continued to show a solid positive for the race meet at Del Mar as Week Four of the seven-week session went into the books at the seaside course on Sunday evening.

With a rise of more than $4.4 million in wagers, the track could boast a 10.6% increase in money bet on site as day 20 of the 37-day session concluded.

Overall wagering remained in the plus column also with a total take of $231,059,047 registered so far, up 3.1% over 2011’s numbers. The track’s daily average now stands at $11,552,952, as opposed to last year’s $11,210,932.

Attendance figures also continued to trend toward the positive, though overall to this point they are down in total by 3.1%. In the initial week of the meet, the body count was down 6.4%. For Week Two, it had dropped to minus 4.3%. Last week’s figures posted at a negative 4.1%. And now the numbers show a negative of 3.1%. On-track attendance for Del Mar after 20 days is 18,828 per afternoon.

Horse field size presented an up once more, shifting from 8.20 per race after 20 days in 2011 to 8.37 for the same period in 2012.

The track’s “Ship and Win” program – in which owners and trainers are encouraged to bring out-of-state horses to race at Del Mar – along with its successful race-ready racehorse sale conducted on opening weekend has added notably to its horse inventory. After four weeks, there has been a $1,000 start bonus (at a minimum) paid out to 87 horses, marked against 61 runners for the same time frame last year. That’s a 42% boost.

Del Mar’s jockey and trainer races remain plenty hot as the stand gallops past the halfway point. The track’s big three riders this summer --  Rafael Bejarano, Garrett Gomez and Joseph Talamo – continued to ring the bell during the week and have put distance between themselves and their nearest rivals. Bejarano leads the parade with 30 winners in 20 days of competition. Gomez has 26 firsts and Talamo shows 21. All three have won substantially more than $1-million in purses so far.

Four-time Del Mar conditioning king Doug O’Neill is atop the 2012 trainers’ race with 14 victories. Right behind him is Peter Miller with 13, followed by the powerhouse stables of Bob Baffert (with 10) and John Sadler (with nine).

Del Mar will continue its summer run on Wednesday with two husky carryovers to add special spice to the start of Week Five. There will be a Pick Six carryover of $240,680 up for grabs on races 3 through 8, as well as a .50-cent Pick Five carry of $362,503 on the day’s first five events. First post is the standard 2 p.m.

 

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