05/07/2011 11:18AM

Kentucky Oaks Day handle sets record at Churchill Downs


All-sources wagering on the 12-race Kentucky Oaks card at Churchill Downs on Friday set an Oaks Day record at $37.5 million, including a record ontrack handle of $12.1 million, according to Churchill.

The Friday all-sources handle total was up 4.2 percent over the previous record, set last year, at $36 million. The ontrack total was up 2.1 percent over last year’s record of $11.9 million.

The strong results augur well for Churchill going into Saturday’s 13-race Kentucky Derby card. Handle totals at tracks across the country have generally been down for the past three years, though big events like the Oaks and the Derby have been somewhat immune to the declines.

A total of $11.4 million was bet on the Oaks, which had 13 entrants. The Oaks was won by Plum Pretty, a 6-1 shot.

Oaks attendance was the third-highest of all time, at 110,122. Weather conditions on Friday were mostly sunny, with highs in the low 70s.

Last year, wagering on the Kentucky Derby card was up 4.5 percent from the 2009 card, a gain that reversed three years of declines.