It would appear Norm Hitzges alone cannot keep Lone Star Park's numbers from suffering a dramatic decline in the midst of a recession. The 65-day spring meet wrapped in Grand Prairie yesterday, and track officials noted with great disappointment the drop in both attendance and wagering, on-site and off. According to the Daily Racing Form in a free-subscription-only wrap-up, the total handle (or wagering) averaged $1,429,959 a day -- down 12 percent from 2008.
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Meanwhile, according to Thoroughbred Times's breakdown, "A 7.7% dip in average daily attendance, from 7,460 per night in 2008 to 6,883 this year, contributed to a 20.9% decrease in on-track handle, from $26.3-million to $20.8-million." Says Lone Star Park president and general manager Drew Shubeck, "These are obviously disappointing results. The biggest reason for the decreases in both attendance and handle is the global economic downturn that has negatively impacted the local Dallas/Ft. Worth economy. Our racing fans didn't come out as often and wagered less money when they were here."