Del Mar Wraps Up with Handle Increase; Prat Edges Rispoli for Jockey Title

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Del Mar’s first race of 2020 with empty stands | Benoit

During these unprecedented times of global pandemic and spectator-free stands, the 81st Del Mar summer meet wrapped up Monday with a gripping battle to the wire between Flavien Prat and Umberto Rispoli for leading jockey honors. They were tied at 49 races apiece going into the GI Runhappy Del Mar Futurity, with Prat winning on Dr. Schivel (Violence) and Rispoli finishing fourth on Scooby (Fast Anna). It was the penultimate race of the meet and left Prat alone atop the rider standings with 50 wins and $2,968,918 in earnings. It marked the fourth leading jockey title at Del Mar for Prat in the last five years, who won 15 black-type events during the meet.

Trainer Peter Miller was a runaway winner of the trainer title, notching 28 wins and $1,498,472 in earnings. It was his fourth leading training title of Del Mar’s summer meet. Conditioner Phil D’Amato came in second with 20 wins. Leading owner honors went to both Reddam Racing and Hronis Racing with the former having higher earnings–$452,180–and the latter having more wins with seven.

Del Mar closed out the summer meet with an 8% increase in total wagering compared to last year, in spite of having 27 racing days in 2020 compared to the 36 days of 2019. Total wagering was $466.68 million, an increase of $34.71 million compared to the $431.98 million of 2019. Average daily handle was $17.28 million, an increase of 44% from 2019 when fans were allowed. Online wagering increased by 125% in the state of California, with out-of-state wagering growing by 65%. Del Mar was a first-time host of California’s wagering for the GI Kentucky Derby with the seaside track handing $24.8 million on the day, the fourth-highest wagering day in Del Mar’s history.

In addition, Del Mar field size increased from 8.0 runners per race last year to 8.4 runners per race this year.

“Given the extraordinary circumstances, we are very pleased with our results,” said Joe Harper, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s CEO. “The racing product was first-rate and players around the country responded in kind. It is especially gratifying that we were able to achieve positive business results while maintaining our commitment to the health and safety of our workforce and our neighbors despite the obvious challenges.”

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