Coming off a record-breaking year in 2005, Fairplex Park defied all trends by living up to expectations again in 2006.
“Like last year, the stars all aligned and everything came together,” said George Bradvica, Fairplex’s racing manager.
“People have fun out here and enjoy our racing, and we’re very, very close to having the season we had last year. The Fair is very strong, and when the Fair is strong, racing is strong.
“We just want to thank every one that supported us, and hope we showed them all a great time. That’s our goal.”
Final handle figures clocked in at $113, 919,743. Handle and attendance were both virtually on par to 2005, when both soared to an all-time high. All-sources handle was up 0.2-percent compared to last year, including a significant 3.4-percent increase from out-of-state wagering. On-track attendance also rose by 1.08-percent. On track attendance was 205,940.
As always, the Stutes made their presence felt around the Pomona track, as Mel Stute, Fairplex’s all-time leading trainer, saddled 30-1 longshot Quick Little Miss to an upset victory in the $130,000 Barretts Debutante for 2-year-old fillies. One day later it was Mel’s son, Gary Stute, who sent Roman Commander out to post a 30-1 shocker in the $130,000 Barretts Juvenile.
The weekend of Stute longshots helped generate a massive three-day Pick Six carryover of nearly $1-million, and drew the attention of bettors from all across the country when the total jackpot swelled to almost $4-million on the next racing day. The $988,445 carryover was by far the biggest in Fairplex history, as was the total pool size of $3,941,142. The all-sources handle of $10,390,081 generated by the Pick Six craze on Sept. 20 was also a single-day record at the Fair.
As expected, Fairplex’s all-time leading rider Martin Pedroza led the way in the jockey standings by bagging 27 winners over the course of the 16-day meeting. It was Pedroza’s eighth-consecutive riding title here at the Fair, and ninth overall. Pedroza also took three stakes races, scoring aboard Sailors Sunset in the opening day Foothill, with Plug Me In in the Derby Trial, and with Sensational Score in the Pomona Derby.