02/04/2004 12:00AM

Sunland: Record hits $2 million

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SUNLAND PARK, N. M. - A record handle figure that had stood for a month was broken Tuesday afternoon at Sunland Park, as the track topped the $2 million mark for the first time in its 45-year history. Over the last three years, the track has found a new winter simulcast market, and handle has risen steadily.

Bets totaled $2,151,368 on Tuesday, crushing the old record of $1,698,255 on Jan. 6. Sunland Park director of racetrack operations Dustin Dix says he believes the best is yet to come.

"We topped $1.5 million for the first time last year at this point in the meet, and it continued growing, so hopefully that trend will continue this season," said Dix. "We may just be building momentum."

Sunland cards 12 races Friday through Sunday and also on Tuesdays. It almost always has a fast track and rarely cancels, making it a safe signal for simulcast coordinators during the winter months.