11/03/2017 7:51PM

Strong wagering on juvenile turf races boosts handle on Friday's Breeders' Cup card


Handle on the four Breeders’ Cup races held on Friday at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., was $31.5 million, according to the charts of the races, up 3.2 percent compared to the same four races last year.

Though up slightly, the total handle for the four races appeared to suffer from the lack of last year’s superstar matchup of Beholder and Songbird in the Distaff, the last Breeders’ Cup race on the Friday card. Handle on the straight and exotic pools for the Distaff was down across the board this year, with win, place, and show wagering down nearly 11 percent and trifecta wagering down 22 percent.

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The declines in wagering on the Distaff nearly wiped out strong gains earlier in the card, with the two races for 2-year-olds on the turf posting especially good numbers. Handle on the first Breeders’ Cup race on the card, the Juvenile Fillies Turf, was up 19 percent, with handle on the Juvenile Turf up 8.1 percent. Both races this year had full fields of 14 horses, the same as last year.

Handle on the Dirt Mile, the second of the four Breeders’ Cup races, was down 1.1 percent. The Mile this year had 10 horses, compared with nine horses last year.

The four Breeders’ Cup races were held at roughly the same time as last year’s races, which were held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., north of Los Angeles.

In total, 46 horses ran in the four Breeders’ Cup races this year, one more than in the four Breeders’ Cup races last year at Santa Anita.

According to Del Mar, total handle for all nine races on the Friday card was $52.3 million, up 5.3 percent over handle on last year’s nine-race card at Santa Anita. Ontrack handle, according to Del Mar, was $9.3 million, up 29 percent over the ontrack handle last year on Friday.

Del Mar announced attendance of 32,528, approximately 5,000 shy of the cap set at 37,500 this year. Last year, Santa Anita, which did not have a cap, announced attendance of 45,673 for the card, a Friday record.