05/26/2010 12:00AM

Pimlico handle down for meet

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Attendance and handle figures for the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore skewed the overall results for the track's 20-day meet, but in opposite ways, according to figures provided by the track Wednesday.

Average daily attendance at Pimlico shot up 9.7 percent, from 7,891 last year to 8,660, with the increase entirely due to 17,000 more people in attendance on Preakness Day. For the meet, total attendance was 173,200, up 15,377 compared with last year's total attendance of 157,823.

Handle during the meet, however, was negatively affected by a $7 million drop in betting on the Preakness compared with last year and a further drop of $2.7 million in wagering on other races during the meet, according to the figures. All-sources handle on Pimlico's races for the meet was a total of $117.1 million, down $9.7 million compared to the total handle last year of $126.8 million.

On average, handle this year on each Pimlico card was $5.86 million, down 7.5 percent compared to average handle of $6.34 million last year.

"We expected the numbers to be down based on the Preakness figures, which dictate whether the numbers will be up or down for the meet," said Tom Chuckas, president of the track.