03/05/2007 1:00AM

Big Cap Day handle drops

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Santa Anita had a drop in business for Saturday’s 11-race Santa Anita Handicap program compared with the same day in 2006. Handle figures for the meeting, though, remain ahead of the 2005-06 meeting, according to track president Ron Charles.

The all-sources handle for Saturday of $23,802,756 was down 1.8 percent from the 2006 figure of more than $24.2 million.

Saturday’s card drew an ontrack crowd of 43,024, a drop of 14 percent from the 2006 crowd of 49,089. The actual crowd was smaller since some customers went through the turnstiles repeatedly to acquire a giveaway of a lamp featuring a jockey on the stand.

Santa Anita offered a $1 million guaranteed pick six pool, but the bet attracted only $925,725 in wagers. The track made up the difference. Charles thought the presence of the $2 Magna 5, which links five races at Magna-owned tracks, including Santa Anita, in a jackpot bet, might have affected the Santa Anita pick six pool. The Magna 5 closed at 1:40 p.m., an hour before the Santa Anita pick six closed.

For the winter-spring meeting, which ends on April 22, Charles said Santa Anita has shown slight declines in average ontrack attendance and handle but a gain in all-sources handle of approximately 7 percent.