11/05/2001 12:00AM

Record Cal Cup handle

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ARCADIA, Calif. - The handle for Saturday's California Cup at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting set a record of $19,992,379 for the program, surpassing the 1998 mark of $17.5 million.

Nationwide handle set a California Cup day record of $7,862,706 while ontrack handle of $5.4 million and statewide handle of $6.7 million were among the highest in the 12-year history of the California Cup.

The 10-race program featured seven stakes and three starter handicaps for statebreds. The track announced an ontrack attendance of 37,184, but the actual attendance was slightly lower, as a sweatshirt promotion led some customers to buy multiple admissions.

By comparison, attendance for the 2000 California Cup was 24,526, the lowest in the event's history.

This year's California Cup program was run three days after Oak Tree officials announced a 6 percent purse increase, retroactive to the start of the meeting in late September. The increase restored purses to the same level as the start of the 2000 meeting, which was plagued by slow business, resulting in a purse cut.