Santa Anita: Meet closes with attendance, handle gains - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Santa Anita: Meet closes with attendance, handle gains

Santa Anita's inaugural 24-day Autumn Meet concluded Sunday, as The Great Race Place stood tall in the face of declining industry revenues, posting significant gains in on-track attendance, handle and in average-per-race field size when compared to like racing dates the past two years.

Average field size for the meet was 8.8 horses per race, a significant increase from 2009, when field size was 7.7 horses per race. Average daily on-track attendance was up one percent over 2009 and average daily on-track pari-mutuel handle was up six percent.

“Our field size was up considerably over the fall meet here in 2009 and that's something that we look forward to building upon as we look to the winter/spring meet,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “This is a result of two things, an improving horse inventory and the fact that our natural dirt main track is performing very well.

“We installed this surface last summer and it's been very well received by the horseman which was reflected at the entry box. The turf course also performed well and we believe all of this bodes well for the future. We've got the Breeders' Cup coming here next year and in an immediate sense, we're very much looking forward to opening day on Dec. 26.”

In addition to on-track increases, Santa Anita's overall business showed improvement as well. All-source average daily handle was up five percent compared to 2009 and the all-source handle was up 22 percent when compared to the same dates that were run at Hollywood Park in 2010.

“The racing was outstanding throughout the meet and the fact that our Breeders' Cup horses performed so well is a good indication that the quality of our product remains world-class. “The fact that Amazombie was able to parlay his win in the Ancient Title Stakes (Grade I) here on Oct. 8, to victory in the Breeders' Cup Sprint was a great indicator of this as was Game On Dude's second place finish in the Classic. He won the Goodwood (Grade I) here on Oct. 1 and he nearly made history on Saturday with Chantal Sutherland.

“We're looking forward to hosting the Breeders' Cup again next year and to be able to once again showcase what we believe is the most magnificent venue in all of racing,” Haines added.

Paulick Report Icon

Receive daily headlines, breaking news alerts, promotions, and much more!

Become An Insider

Support our journalism and access bonus content on our Patreon stream

Learn More