Handle figures continued to run ahead of last year's numbers when all the counting was done after Week #3 came to a conclusion at Del Mar Sunday.
Topped by a three-day Pick Six carryover during the week that drew more than $3-million in bets, the track showed yet further gains on the pari-mutuel front with total handle up a healthy 11% after 15 days of Thoroughbred sport.
On-track handle also powered up with a plus 8.7% on its ledger.
The numbers for all-sources handle came in at $194,526,388 for a daily average handle of $12,968,426 thus far. Last year's figures were $175,185,556 for an average of $11,679,037. The on-track handle was headed north also, having risen from $35,213,633 in 2012 to $38,261,839 in 2013. That was a daily average advantage of $2,550,789 over the $2,347,576 of a year ago.
On-track attendance for the meet appears to be close to last year's, but perhaps down a point or two. Final attendance numbers for Sunday were still being gathered due to a post-race concert on the grounds.
Field size, that per-race average that often tells a betting tale, is still running ahead of the last year's numbers. In 2012 after 15 days with 132 races run, there were 1,101 starters for a per-race average of 8.3. To this point in 2013 there also have been 132 races run, but the total runners is up to 1,130 and the per-race average comes in at 8.6.
The track's “Ship and Win” program, where out-of-state horses are encouraged to come to Del Mar and race via bonus incentives, continues to produce positive results. The numbers are similar to last year's digits – 74 S&W horses in 2012 as opposed to 72 this year. But the results for those horses are even better. Last year to this point they'd won five races. This year they've rung the bell 11 times.
Out on the racetrack, two-time riding champion Rafael Bejarano and two-time training king John Sadler both have taken the lead in their respective divisions.
The Peruvian Bejarano has ridden 21 winners from 105 mounts (20%) through 15 cards. Trailing him are Martin Garcia with 13 firsts and Edwin Maldonado and Julien Leparoux, both with 12.
Sadler has visited the winner's circle 14 times after sending out 65 starters (22%). He is two victories in front of seven-time Del Mar training champ Bob Baffert and six in front of Peter Miller, last year's top trainer.
Del Mar's 37-day meet will forge ahead into Week #4 Wednesday with first post scheduled for 2 p.m.
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