From DMTC Publicity DEL MAR, Calif. (Sept. 4, 2013) -- Following on the heels of a robust 2012 season that set the bar very high, Del Mar did even better yet for 2013 by having all its key business categories ring in with “ups” as the track’s 74th summer session raced to a close Wednesday.
Across the board the 37-day numbers could be checked off as positives -- on-track handle, ADW handle, total handle, attendance, field size, “Ship and Win” program. You name it, Del Mar did it right, and then some.
“We have a great crew that runs this race meet, we have our outstanding California horsemen and we have our enthusiastic Del Mar fans,” said Del Mar Thoroughbred Club president Joe Harper. “When you put them all together at a place like Del Mar, you’ve got a great shot to have a real big winner.”
Racing five days per week – the only major track in the state to do so – Del Mar registered an overall handle increase of 5.2% during its seven-week season, counting out a total of $482,336,877 in all-sources bets for a daily average handle of $13,036,132.
Some of the power behind those numbers came from Del Mar’s ever-growing – this is the fifth consecutive year it has risen -- Advanced Deposit Wagering platforms that showed a remarkable boost of 15.7% in 2013 to $3,202,719 per day. Yet another strong indicator at the wickets was the on-track numbers of $2,452,080 per program, which was 3.7% better than last year’s in-house handle.
Attendance, too, proved a plus, if only by a nose at the wire. The seaside track lured 653,259 fans through the gates during 2013, which bettered 2012 count of 652,034. That was a daily average of 17,656, an 0.2% rise from last year’s 17,623.
For the third year in a row, the track’s field size showed growth, which goes directly opposite to the current four-legged head count at most racetracks around the country. The field-size climbed from 8.66 in 2012 to 8.79 in 2013.“Once again, our horsemen were terrific and their support allowed us to finish strong,” said Del Mar’s executive vice president for racing and racing secretary Tom Robbins. “For the second year in a row we were able to run 11-race cards across the Labor Day weekend, a sure sign of good health at our meet. Our trackman Rich Tedesco and his crew did outstanding work with our main track and our turf superintendent Leif Dickinson was first-rate with our grass course – with even better things to come in that regard next season when we debut our new, wider course.”
Not by coincidence, the track’s field-size rise has moved in concert with its institution of the “Ship and Win” program that has drawn out-of-state runners to the meet in particular, and the state in general. Initiated in 2011 with a $1,000 check and a 20% first-race purse bonus for the newcomers, it rose in 2012 (when the first-race bonus went to 25%) and now has done so again in 2013 with a further boost in that first-race bonus to 33 1/3%. The “Ship and Win” numbers this year ascended to 149 runners (as opposed to 137 in 2012 and 107 in 2011). But where a difference was markedly noted was in the number of “S & W” winners. Last year that total was 13 winners, this year it jumped up to 24.