04/03/2017 12:10PM

Florida Derby weekend handle sets record


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Saturday’s handle of $30.6 million on the 14-race Florida Derby card was the second-highest in the history of the prestigious Kentucky Derby prep, behind only last year’s record $32.1 million.

It was the third-largest handle at Gulfstream Park on a non-Breeders’ Cup day.

The total weekend handle of $48.8 million shattered the previous record of $40.5 million on Florida Derby weekend last year. Sunday’s handle of $18.1 million was buoyed by the $7.3 million wagered into the Rainbow 6 pool with a mandatory payout on closing day of the 2016-17 championship meet.

The largest non-Breeders’ Cup day handle in track history came this winter with the $40.2 million wagered on the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup program.

“Obviously, you always want to do better than the year before, but we’re happy with the way things went Saturday,” said P.J. Campo, vice president of racing for The Stronach Group, which owns Gulfstream Park. “Last year, we had two undefeated colts and the two top Triple Crown contenders, Nyquist and Mohaymen, in the Florida Derby, and we weren’t competing against another Triple Crown race [the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby] as we did on Saturday.”