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Santa Anita racing calls its first spring meeting 'very successful'

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Santa Anita Park wrapped up its inaugural spring meeting Sunday, a racing schedule the Arcadia track called "unchartered" but "very successful."

Santa Anita's winter meeting starts the day after Christmas and, in the past, had ended in mid-April when thoroughbred horse racing would move to Hollywood Park in Inglewood.

But when Hollywood Park closed last year, its racing dates were picked up by Santa Anita and other Southern California tracks.

That led Santa Anita to effectively extend its 69-day winter meeting with a 38-day spring meeting that lasted through Sunday. (It originally was set to be a 39-day meeting but racing was canceled May 15 because of excessive heat.)

The spring meeting's total handle, or the amount wagered at Santa Anita and at off-track betting sites on Santa Anita's races, totaled $377.2 million, or an average $9.92 million a day, the track said.

Of that, the total sum wagered at Santa Anita itself was $53.3 million, or $1.4 million a day, while the track's total attendance was 264,800, or an average 6,970 a day.

"This has been a very successful and gratifying meet," Santa Anita Chairman Keith Brackpool said in a statement. "This was unchartered territory for us and on balance we're very pleased."

Jockey Joe Talamo won the spring meeting's riding title with 43 victories, and Doug O'Neill won his fourth training title at Santa Anita with 27 wins.

Thoroughbred racing next moves to Los Alamitos for an eight-day meeting that starts Thursday, and then to Del Mar on July 17.

The sport returns to Santa Anita on Sept. 26 for an autumn meeting that runs through Nov. 2 and includes the Breeders' Cup World Championships.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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