01/30/2006 12:00AM

Sunshine Millions handle up


All-sources handle on the Sunshine Millions cards at Gulfstream Park in Florida and Santa Anita Park in California on Saturday was up 5.6 percent from the same day last year, according to figures compiled by Equibase.

Total all-sources handle Saturday for the two tracks was $31,999,903, compared with $30,304,118 in 2005. Both tracks ran 10-race cards this year and last.

The handle was aided by good weather at Santa Anita Park. Last year's California card had a steep handle decline because of rain.

Santa Anita drew a crowd of 32,116 to the track, well above last year's 17,533. The attendance was a Santa Anita record for the Sunshine Millions, a promotion conceived by Magna Entertainment Corp., which owns Gulfstream and Santa Anita. The event, which splits eight races restricted to California-bred and Florida-bred horses between the two tracks, was first held in 2003.

Magna used this year's Sunshine Millions to offer its first Magna 5 of the year, a $2 pick five that requires bettors to pick the winners of five races held at Magna tracks across the country.

Handle on the Magna 5 on Saturday was $605,218, with 69 winning ticket-holders receiving $6,792.20 each.

Total handle on the Santa Anita card was $17,277,779, up 8.7 percent from last year's $15,934,999. Ontrack, the crowd wagered $4,569,653, up 16.3 percent from $3,928,356.

Attendance was 8,440 at Gulfstream, which opened a renovated grandstand this year. Last year, when the meet was held with open-air tents as a temporary grandstand, attendance was 3.1 percent higher, at 8,714.

All-sources handle on the Gulfstream card was $14,722,124, up 2.4 percent from last year's $14,370,119. Ontrack, handle was $1,519,005, up 8.6 percent compared with last year's $1,398,505.

Before the renovation, in 2004, approximately 25,000 ontrack patrons at Gulfstream bet nearly $2.4 million on the Sunshine Millions card.