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Del Mar Might Shorten Racing Season

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club said Feb. 27 that it is considering shortening its 2009 racing season. A spokesman says the club will present a plan to shorten the seven-week season from six days a week to five to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, owner of the racetrack, and the California Horse Racing Board in the next few weeks.

The economy has affected the track and having fewer racing days will increase the daily attendance and handle (the amount of money bet), the Thoroughbred Club says.

Last year, Del Mar attracted 688,000 attendees for an average of 16,000 a day. The 2008 season handle was $559 million, or a daily average of $13 million. In 2007, attendance averaged 16,700 per day, which was down 0.4 percent from 2006. The handle was up 3.3 percent to $601 million.

Gulfstream Park in South Florida trimmed its season this year from six days a week to five.

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The 2009 season is set for July 22 through Sept. 9.

, Michelle Mowad

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