Strong betting numbers throughout the 37-day Del Mar meet translated into a record daily average purse payment of $687,000 per afternoon, a solid boost of 9.6% over last year’s previous highest-ever daily purse payments of $626,951.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s executive vice president for finance and chief financial officer, Mike Ernst, echoed Raffetto’s comments:
“Good racing is good business,” he said. “We had terrific cooperation from our horsemen this summer and it translated into big fields and competitive, entertaining racing. That naturally translates into larger purses for the people who put on the show and this retro payment underscores that reality.”
Ernst noted that the additional payment will be tacked on to all 2012 overnight purses earnings and that DMTC would be issuing retro checks toward the end of October.
The track’s 75th anniversary season saw robust handle figures virtually across the board during the seven-week session. Its on-track handle climbed by 13.3% to a daily average of $2,364,187 and its Advance Deposit Wagering figures rose by 15.0% to $1,810,215 daily.
Overall, Del Mar’s all-sources betting tally increased 6.6%. The final figures showed a total handle of $458,519,873 for a daily average of $12,392,429.
Del Mar’s horsemen again responded positively to the track’s original “Ship and Win” program in which those who brought in out-of-state horses to race at the meet were rewarded by cash payment and purse bonuses. In its first year in 2011, the program drew and extra 107 horses to the meet to help ease a horse shortage situation. In 2012, that number was boosted to 137 new runners, a 28% increase.
One of the key betting yardsticks at any race meeting – field size – was enhanced for the second year in a row during the summer stand, climbing from 8.4 to 8.7 horses per race. The “Ship and Win” program was surely part of that equation, as was a first-ever race-ready racehorse sale conducted the initial weekend of the season in the track’s paddock that saw 25 out-of-state runners sell to local owners and be added to the track’s inventory.
Further reflecting the positively charged atmosphere of the seaside summer was the increase in the number of races presented during the 37 days, rising from 323 in 2011 to 328 this year.
Del Mar also set a single-day attendance record of 47,339 for its opening program on July 18, the eighth year in a row it has seen its first-day attendance numbers move upward. Final daily average crowds finished at 17,623, the best per-day numbers by far of any track in the state.