11/01/2014 10:44PM

Breeders' Cup all-sources handle declines

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Preliminary all-sources handle on the 13 Breeders’ Cup races held this year at Santa Anita on Friday and Saturday was $127.8 million, according to charts of the races, down 5.7 percent compared with  betting last year on 14 races, when the numbers were also juiced by a carryover in the pick five.

The decline ended up being a decent showing for the Breeders’ Cup card considering there was one fewer Breeders’ Cup race this year and that the carryover last year accounted for $5 million in additional handle on the pick five, a popular 50-cent minimum bet in California. Subtracting out the handle on the discontinued Marathon from last year and the additional carryover money, handle this year would have been up just slightly.

Handle on this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic was especially strong, perhaps because of the continuing attraction of California Chrome on his home turf. Though discounted by most serious handicappers, California Chrome was the co-second choice in the Classic, driving a 27 percent gain in the win, place, and show pools in the Classic compared with  last year. Exacta betting in the race was up 19 percent, trifecta betting was up 29 percent, and superfecta betting was up 33 percent.

The day started ominously, though, with betting on many of the early races down significantly, some by double digits. Betting picked up later in the afternoon, however, as the Breeders’ Cup event meandered into prime time on a Saturday fouled by poor weather on the East Coast and in the Midwest.

Attendance on Saturday, when nine Breeders’ Cup races were held, was 61,114, according to Breeders’ Cup, up 4 percent compared with  attendance of 58,795 last year. Weather in Southern California on Saturday started out rainy and overcast, though conditions gradually improved throughout the day.

With attendance of 37,205 for the Friday card for four Breeders’ Cup races, total attendance for the two cards was 98,319, up 4 percent compared with total attendance last year. It was the highest two-day total for the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, where the event has been held five times under the two-day format.

The Breeders’ Cup will be held at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.,  next year.

A $2.5 million guaranteed pick six on Saturday just barely failed to reach the minimum, at approximately $2.42 million, according to the last data displayed on a tote feed. No one had six correct, leading to a $1.3 million carryover into Sunday with a mandatory payout.