12/02/2011 12:03PM

Churchill handle dips during fall meet


Total all-sources handle during the 21-day Churchill Downs meet that ended on Sunday dipped 3.9 percent compared with all-sources handle for the same 21-day meet last year, according to figures supplied by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Handle was $270.3 million, according to the figures, with $155.5 million of that coming from the two days of the Breeders’ Cup event at Churchill on Nov. 4-5. Handle on the Breeders’ Cup this year was down 4.9 percent compared to last year’s event, which was also held at Churchill.

Aside from the two days of the Breeders’ Cup, Churchill’s highest-handling card was on Nov. 26, the track's only night-racing card. Handle that night was $10.9 million, almost double the average handle for the track’s non-Breeders’ Cup cards during the meet.

The 3.9 percent decline compared favorably with declines faced by the overall racing industry this year. For the year, handle at U.S. racetracks has been down 7.5 percent through October, according to figures supplied by Equibase.

Churchill does not release handle figures. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission began monitoring racetrack handle figures last year.