The Maryland Jockey Club released the handle figures of its recently concluded spring meeting at Pimlico Race Course last weekend, posting average wagering figures which were 8.7% lower than comparable dates from 2009. The average daily handle went from $6.854 million to $6.257 million. The spring meet featured 20 live racing dates and 21 simulcast days.
“We expected the numbers to be down based on the Preakness figures, which dictate whether the numbers will be up or down for the meet,” said Tom Chuckas, Maryland Jockey Club president and chief operating officer. “The build up to this year’s Preakness did not match 2009 when Rachel Alexandra-mania took over the industry. But we were still able to generate the sixth largest handle ever in the 135-year history of the event.”
Attendance was up nearly 10% at Pimlico as the Preakness crowd increased from 77,850 to 95,760. Performances by Grammy Award winner Zac Brown Band and Platinum selling musical group O.A.R. in the infield contributed to a festive event.
“We are proud of this year’s infield experience and our partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure on Black-Eyed Susan day which made for an outstanding weekend,” added Chuckas. “Our staff is meeting Friday afternoon to begin planning for the 2011 Preakness. We will look for ways to build on the momentum that began here a week and a half ago.”
Dale Capuano secured the Trainers Title for the Pimlico Meet, with 2 wins on Closing Day giving him 11 for the Meet, beating Scott Lake by 3. The Jockey Title went to Horatio Karamanos who too had 11 winners, narrowly beating out Julian Pimentel and Sheldon Russell who each had 10.
Recapping Closing Day (Saturday, May 22nd) at the Pimlico Spring Meet…
Best Bet Will Prevail (# 9; 8th race on the turf; 7-2) was challenged for the lead every step of this 5 furlong sprint, and begrudgingly prevailed, no pun intended, by 1½ lengths to pay $7.20 to WIN, $4.20 to PLACE and $3.80 to SHOW.
Best Bet pick Final Scorecard from 14 selections at the Pimlico Meet: 3 WIN – 4 PLACE – 3 SHOW.
Longshot Wild Man Walkin (# 6; 5th race on the turf; 7-2) took a lot more action at the betting windows than anticipated based on his 12-1 Morning Line, raced well from gate-to-wire, but was bested by two foes by less than 2 lengths, settling for third returning $4.20 to SHOW.
Longshot pick Final Scorecard from 15 selections at the Pimlico Meet: 2 WIN – 1 PLACE – 2 SHOW
SHOW Parlay Play of the Day : $41 on Waitinforasunnyday (# 6; 4th race; 7-2) rated nicely in third in the early stages of the 5½ furlong sprint but flattened out in the stretch and took the remainder of the SHOW Parlay balance with her finishing out of the money, in 4th place.
Even though thoroughbred horse racing will go another year without a Triple Crown winner, the 142nd running of the Belmont Stakes is shaping up to be a competitive one worth having action on, as 11 3 year olds are anticipated to break from the starting gate at Belmont one week from Saturday, in the $1 million 1½ mile classic.
As of Thursday (May 27th) afternoon, here are the probable starters listed with Jockey and Trainer…
Dave in Dixie Calvin Borel / John Sadler
Drosselmeyer Mike Smith / William Mott
First Dude Ramon Dominguez / Dale Romans
Fly Down John Velazquez / Nicholas Zito
Game On Dude Martin Garcia / Bob Baffert
Ice Box Jose Lezcano / Nicholas Zito
Make Music For Me Joel Rosario / Alexis Barba
Spangled Star Garrett Gomez / Richard Dutrow, Jr.
Stately Victor Alan Garcia / Michael Maker
Stay Put Jamie Theriot / Steve Margolis
Uptowncharlybrown Rajiv Maragh / Kiaran McLaughlin
The unofficial start of Summer, Memorial Day weekend, is just days away. Spend it with your family, remember the men and women who died to preserve our freedom, and enjoy the exciting chase scenes thoroughbred horse racing has to offer at Colonial Downs, Delaware Park, Charles Town or any other track that offers live racing.