12/08/2010 12:48PM

Bucking industry trends, total and average handle rise

Michael Burns
Impossible Time. Jono Jones up, wins the Classy N'Smart, one of his five victories at the 2010 Woodbine meet.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - For the second straight year, Woodbine Racetrack has shown a sharp increase in all-source handle for the live Thoroughbred meeting which wound up last Sunday.

The all-sources total for the 167-day meet was $393,507,233, an increase of 8.9 percent over the $361,435,208 wagered on the same number of programs in 2009. The daily average handle of $2,356,331, up from $2,164,283 last year.

The 2009 total, in turn, represented a 7 percent hike over the previous year’s meeting.

“To see a 7 percent rise in 2009 and an 8.9 percent jump this year against the softness in the betting marketplace is significant,” said Sean Pinsonneault, Woodbine Entertainment Group’s chief operating officer, in a press release.

As was the case last year, much of the $32 million increase in betting came from U.S. sources.

“Customers have responded very well to the strong fundamentals of Woodbine’s racing, guaranteed pools, and expanded distribution,” said Pinsonneault.

“This positive momentum has also resulted in record-setting handles in our key stakes events.”

Queen Elizabeth II attended the Queen’s Plate and the $6,815,673 handle was the highest ever recorded on a Woodbine card with the exception of Breeders’ Cup Day in 1996.

The Woodbine Mile ($5,619,808) and Pattison Canadian International ($6,322,804) cards produced record numbers.

Overnight and stakes purses, including supplements and nominations fees, paid out in 2010 totaled $86.9 million, an average of $520,896 per card.

Average field size was down slightly, from 9.1 to 8.7, but still remained one of the highest in North America.

Da Silva tops jockey standings

Eurico Rosa da Silva recorded his first leading rider title with 190 victories but finished second in purses won with $9,176,606.

Patrick Husbands, second to in races won with 172, was the leading-money winning jockey with $9,235,989.

Chantal Sutherland finished third in both categories with 136 wins and $8,176,792. She also was the leading stakes-winning rider with 18.

Mark Casse sent out a career-best 87 winners to top the standings for the fourth straight year and also led in purses won with $4,925,585.

Reade Baker was second in races won with 66 and in purses with $3,804,310.

Sid Attard finished third in races won with 46 while Roger Attfield ranked third in earnings with $3,633,995 and had the most stakes wins with 13.

Sam-Son Farm led the owner standings in money won with $2,563,412 and was third in races won with 26

Bear Stable led in races won with 39 and was second in money won with $1,883,987.

Melnyk Racing Stable ended second in races won with 29 and third in money won with $1,789,573.

Certain Pride, Impossible Time, Kirkland Lake, Preakness Laugher, Safety Zone, and Wildcat Marie all won five races at the meeting to head that category.

* Dr. John McNie, one of Woodbine’s track veterinarians, reported that a total of 10 horses died as the result of injuries suffered during a race at the meeting, including two on the turf course.

Last year, 12 Polytrack deaths and two turf deaths were reported.