Del Mar Attendance and Handle Increases
Del Mar celebrated in style opening weekend with an energized atmosphere featuring good crowds, good racing and good betting action. Following an opening-day crowd of 42,562 on Friday, July 15, the track totaled 76,962 for the three-day weekend for a daily average of 25,654. That represented an increase of 13.4% over last year’s opening weekend attendance.
Bettors responded favorably to the second year of Del Mar’s new dirt track, maturing turf course and strong fields. Pari-mutuel handle was also up by 14.3% with all-sources handle averaging $15,827,100 per day compared to last year’s $13,848,778 three day average.
“It was great to see San Diegans and racing fans in general respond so positively to our opening week,” Del Mar Thoroughbred Club president Joe Harper said in a release. “We’re very proud of what we do, but we never take ourselves for granted,” Harper said. “People have come to expect a good time when they come to the track, and we’re very service-conscious. We want everyone to have a good time and enjoy their day with us.”
California off-track wagering numbers also showed healthy gains of 12.3% based on an increase of about $600,000 per day during the extended weekend. Out-of-state wagering gained 22% and on-track wagering was up 1.7%.
According to The Jockey Club Information Systems, there were 267 starts in 30 races over the course of the three days for an average of 8.90 runners per race, compared with an average 8.79 during the first three days of 2015 when 28 races attracted 246 starters. The track continues to be one of the national leaders in the category. TJCIS reported three-day purse distribution of $1,987,565, down slightly from the $1,982,034 for opening weekend in 2015
Week 2 should be another strong weekend of racing and attendance with the return to action of champion California Chrome in Saturday’s $200,000 San Diego Handicap.