INGLEWOOD, Calif. (December 16, 2012)—With seven days of simulcasts still to come, Betfair Hollywood Park has thus far shown a sizable increase in all sources handle for the 2012 Autumn meet. The live portion of the 24-day season concluded Sunday.
Complete handle and Southern California attendance figures will be available later this month.
Betfair Hollywood Park will continue to offer simulcast wagering this week from various tracks, including Fair Grounds, Gulfstream Park, Hawthorne, Tampa Bay Downs, Turf Paradise and Turfway Park.
The Hollywood Park Casino – where admission is free – will be open for simulcasts Dec. 17-20.
With Los Alamitos and Cal Expo offering daytime programs Dec. 21-23, Betfair Hollywood Park’s Players Club will be open for those races and other simulcasts.
General admission will be $5. Track gates will open at 9:45 a.m. Post time at Los Alamitos will be 2 p.m. while post time at Cal Expo is 2:35 p.m.
“Preliminarily, we are up between 7-8 per cent through a comparable number of days (the 2011 Autumn meet was 26 days),’’ said Betfair Hollywood Park president Jack Liebau. “We’re most pleased by the fact that a substantial portion of the increase was attributable to ADW (advance deposit wagering) handle, which was up over 30 per cent and over 50 per cent of our ADW handle is through TVG (Television Games Network).
“We’re also pleased that wagering in Southern California was up 3-4 percent over last year and we believe that was due to our joint marketing program with TVG and our races being televised on TVG and Fox affiliated stations.’’
Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22) featured the second largest total Pick Six pool in Autumn meet history. Chasing a three-day carryover of $560,134, players wagered an additional $2,651,873 on the holiday sequence. The total pool of $3,212,007 trails only the $3,379,014 bet when Hollywood Park played host to the Breeders’ Cup for a third time Nov. 8, 1997.
Additionally, average field size increased for a third consecutive year, rising from 7.33 starters per race in 2010 to 7.89 last year and 8.16 in 2012. The season certainly finished with a flourish as 228 horses were entered in 21 races the final two days of the meet.
Another success was a renewed interest in Saturday’s Pick Six, spurred by a $150,000 guaranteed pool and the lure of a 2013 Toyota Prius – courtesy of TVG and Toyota of Orange – being awarded to a single ticket holder – provided the ticket was purchased at Betfair Hollywood Park or through TVG. The average Pick Six pool for the half-dozen Saturdays during the meet was $243,754.
Shippers certainly had a memorable season as thoroughbreds from other parts of the country won all four of the Grade I races offered.
A New York bred making his first start away from home, Unbridled Command won the Hollywood Derby Nov. 25, hours after Better Lucky, who had made her previous start in Kentucky, scored the biggest upset in Matriarch history, returning $72.20 after a one length victory under jockey Eddie Castro.
Supplemented by trainer Ken McPeek for his family’s Magdalena Racing, Pure Fun rallied from last to win the $500,000-guaranteed Hollywood Starlet Dec. 8. The victory came on the heels of an authoritative win at Churchill Downs for the 2-year-old daughter of Pure Prize.
In the richest race of the meet, Violence remained undefeated in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity, defeating a stubborn Fury Kapcori and nine other 2-year-olds Dec. 15. Trained by Todd Pletcher for Steve Marshall’s Black Rock Thoroughbreds LLLP, the son of Medaglia d’Oro is 3-for-3 and has to be considered at this stage one of the prime contenders for the 2013 Kentucky Derby.
The Hollywood Derby was the fifth and final race of the three-day Turf Festival. Unbridled Command and Better Lucky weren’t the only winners from out of town. Data Link, trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, won the Grade II Citation Handicap Nov. 23.
Locals won the Festival races for 2-year-olds Nov. 24 with Travesura, an 11-1 shot, winning the Miesque for fillies while favored Den’s Legacy captured the Generous. Both are Grade III events.
Tom and Debi Stull’s Tommy Town Thoroughbreds LLC, Glen Hill Farm and the partnership of BG Stable and trainer Hector Palma tied for the top spot in the owners’ standings with four wins. In terms of earnings, Black Rock Thoroughbreds LLLP led with $388,200.
Jockey Edwin Maldonado won his first major riding title in Southern California, finishing with 25 wins, one more than Rafael Bejarano. Martin Garcia was third with 22 victories.
Garrett Gomez was the leader among jockeys in stakes wins (five) and earnings ($1,075,460).
Hall of Famer Bob Baffert won his third Autumn training title – and fifth overall, including the 2010 Oak Tree meet – at Betfair Hollywood Park. Baffert wound up with 17 wins, leaving him three clear of John Sadler and four in front of Doug O’Neill.
Baffert was also the leader in stakes victories (four) and earnings ($1,169,340). Game On Dude, the 2012 Hollywood Gold Cup winner, provided Baffert with one of the stakes wins, rebounding from a subpar performance in the Breeders’ Cup Classic to take the Grade III, $242,500 Native Diver Stakes – Presented by the Oak Tree Racing Association – Dec. 1. The win earned the 5-year-old son of Awesome Again Horse of the Meet honors in the annual media poll.
Another Hall of Fame trainer – Jerry Hollendorfer – was second in both categories, finishing with three stakes wins and $835,996 in earnings.
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