INGLEWOOD, Calif. (Dec. 21, 2008) — Hollywood Park, fighting the declining economy and an Advance Deposit Wagering dispute which curtailed wagering by players residing outside of California for 17 racing days, finished its 40-day Autumn Meet on Sunday with declines across the board in attendance and handle.

Overall, handle averaged $8.9 million, down 18.3 percent from the figure of $10.9 million during a 32-day meeting in 2007. The on-track average of $1.05 million was down 21.6 percent from the average of $1.3 million in 2007. On track-attendance fell 12 percent to 4,353, compared to 4,944 in 2007.

The ADW average for the meeting of $1.4 million was down 22.8 percent, but it improved dramatically following the settlement, rising to $1.6 million daily from $993,320. For the 23 racing days after the ADW situation was resolved, total handle averaged $9.3 million, down 15.2 percent from 2007.

“Although we came close during our summer meeting to matching our record-setting meeting of 2007, we ran into a double whammy in the fall with the poor economy and an unexpected ADW standoff,” track president Jack Liebau said. “The ADW average handle was down more than 43 percent from 2007 during the first 17 days of the meeting when players residing outside of California could not bet on Hollywood Park races.

“The decrease in business affected everyone as purses had to be cut,” Liebau added. “The ADW average jumped more than $600,000 a day once out-of-state wagering came back on line with the four major ADW providers in late November, putting our figures in line with the national trend.”

The Autumn Meet was once again highlighted by excellent turf racing, the $750,000 CashCall Futurity and Rafael Bejarano, who became just the third jockey to sweep the five major Southern California riding titles.

Bejarano, who moved his tack to Southern California during the 2007 Autumn Meet, won consecutive riding titles at the Santa Anita Winter/Spring Meet, Hollywood Park’s Spring/Summer Meet, Del Mar, Oak Tree and at the Autumn Meet, where he rode 52 winners. He joined Chris McCarron (1983) and Patrick Valenzuela as the only jockeys to sweep the five titles.

Pioneerof the Nile established himself as a leading Kentucky Derby contender with a thrilling victory by a nose over I Want Revenge in the CashCall Futurity, while the the 17th Turf Festival culminated on Thanksgiving Weekend with victories by Court Vision in the $500,000 Hollywood Derby and Cocoa Beach in the $500,000 Matriarch.

Doug O’Neill, meanwhile, saddled a record 27 winners to win his fourth Autumn Meet training title and his seventh Hollywood Park title. He topped the mark of 24 wins he established at the 2006 meeting.