Santa Anita's 19-day Autumn Meet, which concluded on Sunday, showed significant increases in both attendance and handle when compared to the most recent non-Breeders' Cup Autumn Meet, in 2015.
All source pari-mutuel handle was up eight percent, while on-track handle showed an increase of two percent. On-track attendance was up 16 percent and average field size of 8.7 horses per race, a key factor for increased handle, showed an increase over 8.2 average starters per race in 2015 and 2016.
“We want to first of all sincerely thank our fans, both on-track and around the country, as they are the driving economic force in our business, on every level,” said Tim Ritvo, Chief Operating Officer for The Stronach Group. “Additionally, we'd like to thank our horsemen, whose participation at this meet enabled us to post substantial gains in handle and we look forward to working with all of them in order to put on a world class show beginning Dec. 26.”
In addition to being up in attendance and handle when compared to the 2015 Autumn Meet, Santa Anita's 2017 Autumn Meet numbers were also up in comparison to the first five weeks of the 2016 Autumn stand, when The Great Race Place hosted the Breeders' Cup World Championships for a record ninth time.
In terms of performance on the racetrack, 19-year-old apprentice sensation Evin Roman, continued to enjoy great success, as he garnered his fourth Southern California riding title with 19 wins, while veteran Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux, who finished second with 15 victories, led all jockeys in the stakes-won department with six added money triumphs.
In the trainer's division, Richard Baltas and Peter Miller dead heated atop the standings, each winning 10 races. As for most stakes wins by a trainer, Mark Glatt, Richard Mandella, Keith Desormeaux and Peter Miller finished in a four-way dead heat with two added money wins each.
The leading owner by money-won was Mick and Wendy Ruis' Ruis Racing, LLC, whose stable earned $271,900. There undefeated 2-year-old, Bolt d'Oro led the charge, taking the Grade I, $300,000 FrontRunner Stakes on Sept. 30.
The meet's leading owner by races-won ended in a four-way dead heat, with Ruis Racing, David and Holly Wilson, Calumet Farm and Reddam Racing, LLC sharing top honors.
For information regarding Santa Anita's traditional Winter Meet opener on Tuesday, Dec. 26, fans are encouraged to visit santaanita.com or to call (626) 574-RACE.
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