11/09/2006 1:00AM

Cup handle up 15 percent


Total all-sources handle on the eight Breeders' Cup races Saturday at Churchill Downs was $134,357,846, a record and a 15.4 percent increase over the previous record set last year, according to figures released on Thursday.

The increase was the largest one-year gain since 1999, when wagering increased 16.2 percent. Earlier this year, the Breeders' Cup board endorsed a plan that set a goal for wagering on the event to increase to $200 million by 2010.

The wagering increase was principally fueled by a 44 percent gain in wagering on the final race of the card, the Breeders' Cup Classic, plus much higher betting on the two pick four wagers on the card and an increase in betting from foreign countries.

In addition, this year Breeders' Cup allowed customers at 10 offshore rebate shops to wager into the commingled pools after a one-year absence. Last year, regulations in New York, where the Breeders' Cup was held, prohibited Breeders' Cup from accepting wagers from the 10 shops.

Ken Kirchner, the Breeders' Cup's director of simulcasting, said that growth domestically, not counting Churchill Downs, was only $4 million, a 4 percent increase from domestic betting last year without the ontrack numbers at Belmont Park included. Ontrack at Churchill Downs, betting was up $4 million from ontrack betting last year, and international wagering was up $8 million from last year.

"The direction is obviously positive," Kirchner said. "But the growth was really ontrack and in the international market. We still need to look at our marketing and advertising within the States. Those efforts needs to be redoubled."

Though Breeders' Cup did not supply numbers for all account-wagering platforms, handle through the three largest domestic account-wagering operations in the United States - Television Games Network, Youbet.com, and AmericaTab - was $11,189,989.