12/12/2007 12:00AM

Total handle up slightly at Woodbine

EmailETOBICOKE, Ontario - The total handle from all sources on live racing at this year's Woodbine meeting was up 2.87 percent to $343,059,524, the Woodbine Entertainment Group announced Wednesday.

The daily average handle for the 169-day meeting, the first at which all main-track racing was conducted on the Polytrack surface, was $2,029,938. Last year's average daily handle was $2,058,577 for a 162-day meeting.

"The Polytrack has really helped our field sizes, in particular," said Sean Pinsonneault, Woodbine's vice president of wagering services, noting that the average field size was up from 8.6 horses in 2006 to 9 horses this year. "We are very pleased with the results."

Woodbine also made some renovations to its Polytrack surface this spring, adding a new type of oil-based wax to the mixture to keep it from getting loose, particularly during colder weather.

A total of two fatal breakdowns occurred during the course of races this year on the Polytrack surface, compared to four in 64 days last year.

From the time the Polytrack surface opened Aug. 30, 2006, the average field size was 9.2.

Field size for the 29 days (July 8 through Aug. 29) when main-track racing was conducted on the seven-furlong Standardbred oval while the Polytrack surface was being installed was 8.2, and field size for the first 69 days of the meeting when main-track racing was conducted on the former dirt track was 8.1.

Overnight and stakes purses, including supplementary and nomination fees paid out in 2007, totaled $88.6 million this year, compared to $84.5 million last year.

Casse, Husbands win titles

Mark Casse dominated the trainer standings here, winning 84 races and a meet-record total of $5,766,880.

Sid Attard finished second with 60 winners, and Bob Tiller ended third with 53.

Patrick Husbands rode 76 of Casse's winners and was a runaway leader in races won at the meeting with 149 and in money won with $9,173,169.

Emma-Jayne Wilson finished second with 129 wins, while Emile Ramsammy and Tyler Pizarro tied for third with 124.

Melnyk Racing Stable was the top owner in money won with $2,030,805. Sam-Son Farm was next with $1,905,520, and Tucci Stables was third with $1,594,014.

Stronach Stable was the leading owner in races won with 29.

Cloudy's Knight won the Canadian International and Sky Classic to top all horses in money won at the meeting with $1.44 million.

Prince Atlantis and Yolie finished in a dead heat for most races won with six.

The 2008 Woodbine meeting begins April 5 and is scheduled to run 167 days.