10/01/2007 12:00AM

Kentucky Cup handle up

EmailBuoyed partly by a matchup at Turfway Park between the top two finishers from the Kentucky Derby, a crowd estimated as the largest in the 14-year history of the Kentucky Cup turned out Saturday to watch Hard Spun defeat Street Sense in the signature event in the five-race series, the Kentucky Cup Classic, and wagering increased from the 2006 card.

Turfway does not charge admission and therefore does not have an official turnstile count, but officials said Monday that their estimate was 13,640 on Saturday, exceeding the previous Kentucky Cup high of 11,223 in 2003.

Although all-sources wagering fell well short of the all-time Kentucky Cup card record of nearly $9.6 million, set in 1997, betting on the 12-race card was $7,380,303,up about 8 percent from the $6.86 million bet on the 2006 Kentucky Cup card.

All-sources wagering on the Kentucky Cup Classic was $1,251,022, up 39 percent from $900,401 last year. Officials attributed the spike to the Hard Spun-Street Sense matchup more than offsetting the disappointment of a four-horse field.