02/09/2005 12:00AM

Beulah handle takes leap


Average daily handle rose over 40 percent from last year during the first month of the Beulah Park winter-spring meeting.

Through Tuesday, Beulah averaged $1,415,691 for the 17 full programs run this year. Beulah also ran 17 full programs through Feb. 8 last year and averaged $1,006,730 per day. Not counted in the figures were two programs that were canceled this year after the second race because of adverse track conditions and three cards that were cut short last year.

Offtrack wagering at Beulah is up 43 percent over last year, at $1,356,625 per day, and ontrack handle is up 2.7 percent.

Beulah has benefited from being able to run several days this year when other tracks in the Midwest and on the East Coast have canceled programs because of bad weather.

A change in scheduling has also helped, as Sunday afternoons, which typically produced the lowest handle of the week, have been replaced by Wednesdays this season.

The handle increases have allowed the purse fund here to go from being overpaid by $65,000 at the end of January 2004 to being underpaid by approximately $160,000 at the end of January this year, according to Beulah Park general manager Mike Weiss.

Despite those numbers, Weiss says there aren't any purse increases planned. Weiss said it will be tough for Beulah to maintain its average handle during March and April, when other tracks open and vie for simulcasting dollars. Beulah's meeting concludes on Kentucky Derby Day, May 7.

* An injury to Beulah's fall meeting champion jockey, Marco Ccamaque, has opened opportunities for other riders here, including newcomer Edgar Paucar, who is going for his first Beulah riding title.

Ccamaque suffered a hairline fracture to his right wrist here two weeks ago during training hours, when his horse shied from a pony and hit an ice patch in the parking lot where the horses cross from the barn area to the track. Ccamaque and the horse both went to the ground, and Ccamaque suffered the injury while trying to break his fall.

Ccamaque, who led the standings with 15 wins at the time of his injury, will be out another one to two weeks, according to his agent, Jeff Perrin.

Paucar, who came to Beulah from Suffolk in October, is also represented by Perrin. Paucar has built a 30-18 edge over last year's winter-spring meeting champ, Ivan Gonzalez, through Tuesday.