04/06/2014 1:20PM

Santa Anita Derby Day produces attendance, handle gains

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ARCADIA, Calif.- Ontrack attendance and handle for Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby program exceeded the corresponding day in 2013, according to figures released by the track.

The ontrack crowd of 35,241 was 7 percent higher than 2013 figure of 33,005. All-sources handle was $22,542,443, a gain of 13 percent over the $19,897,306 from last year.  The ontrack handle of $4,065,716 was $18,006 higher than in 2013.

Saturday’s ontrack attendance was the highest of the meeting, exceeding the 30,540 who attended the opening day on Dec. 26. There were 27,121 ontrack for the Santa Anita Handicap program on March 8.

The Santa Anita Handicap program had the highest all-sources handle of the meeting to date - $22,589,082.

Both the 2013 Santa Anita Derby day and Saturday’s card had 11 races, five of which were stakes. Saturday’s program had 110 runners, compared with 98 on the 2013 Santa Anita Derby Day.

The larger field sizes on Saturday reverses a months-long trend that has plagued this meeting. Through Saturday, fields have averaged 7.65 runners per race at this meeting, lower than the 8.17 starters per race through the corresponding date in 2013. This year, there have been six fewer races run, 533 compared with 539 in 2013. For the entire 2012-2013 winter-spring meeting, fields averaged 8.08 runners for 616 races.

The current meeting runs through April 20 before the track takes a four-day break. The first Santa Anita spring-summer meeting, replacing dates formerly run at defunct Hollywood Park, begins on April 25 and runs through June 29.