11/03/2014 1:00PM

Breeders' Cup, big carryover boost meet business


ARCADIA, Calif. – Boosted by massive betting interest on Sunday’s closing-day program, mutuel handle increased at the 25-day autumn meeting at Santa Anita, which included Breeders’ Cup races on Friday and Saturday.

The track released limited business data Sunday evening. According to the statement, ontrack handle increased 3 percent for the meeting, while all-sources handle, including simulcast and account wagering, rose 4 percent from a comparable meeting in 2013.

Attendance figures were not released.

The final day had higher-than-projected business following a pick six carryover of $1,335,505 from Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup program. Bettors added $5,009,938 to the pick six pool on Sunday. Business throughout Sunday’s 10-race program was strong. The all-sources handle of $18,483,165 was the highest of the 25-day meeting for a non-Breeders’ Cup day.

Track president Tom Ludt said it was “a good meet.”

The season was highlighted by the Breeders’ Cup and came after a second round of remodeling to parts of the clubhouse. In the last 18 months, the track has remodeled areas of the grandstand and clubhouse. Ludt said the track’s focus will now shift from remodeling to “maintenance and promotion” to drive ontrack business.

“We need to get L.A. out here,” he said. “We’ve tried to create space for people to have fun.”

Rafael Bejarano led all riders with 28 winners, his second consecutive title on the circuit. Joe Talamo finished second with 22 wins. Bejarano, who missed most of the Santa Anita spring-summer meeting because of injury, was the leading rider at the Del Mar summer meeting and has 20 riding titles in Southern California.

Bob Baffert was the leading trainer with 14 wins, one more than Jerry Hollendorfer and Leandro Mora. Mora is normally the assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill, who began a suspension for a medication violation in early October. O’Neill had two wins before his suspension started.

Baffert won Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic with Bayern.

Field size was slightly lower than last year, although the 2014 meeting had more races. The 2013 autumn meeting had an average field size of 8.96 starters in 220 races. This year, there were 8.88 runners per race in 228 races.

The track added two days of racing from the original schedule – Thursday, Oct. 16 and Wednesday, Oct. 29.

The Breeders’ Cup days, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, drew a combined attendance of 98,319, a gain of 4 percent over 2013 and the highest two-day total when the event has been held at Santa Anita.

Keeneland will host the 2015 Breeders’ Cup, with the event scheduled to return to Santa Anita in 2016.

Santa Anita will open its winter-spring meeting on Dec. 26. Del Mar opens a fall meeting on Friday, to be followed by a short meeting at Los Alamitos.