01/27/2018 8:08PM

Total Pegasus handle up 3.8 percent over last year

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Total handle on Saturday’s Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla., including all horizontal wagers ending in the race, was $16.4 million, up 3.8 percent compared with wagering of $15.8 million last year on the inaugural Pegasus, according to charts of the races compiled by Equibase.

Led by Horse of the Year Gun Runner, this year’s Pegasus had the top five finishers from last November’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, a race that the Pegasus’s planners have said they are attempting to match in handle and public interest. Handle on the Classic last year was $27.9 million, or $11.5 million more than the Pegasus this year.

Betting on the Pegasus was boosted by a potential $3.62 million jackpot for the Rainbow 6, a progressive wager that pays out the entire pool only if one ticket has the winning combination. This year, betting on the Rainbow 6 on Pegasus day was $1,544,385, more than three times the Rainbow 6 betting on Pegasus day last year, when the jackpot going into Pegasus day was $306,000. The wager has a mandatory payout on Sunday, with a $3.99 million jackpot going in.

Total betting in the win pool was $4.2 million, compared with total win pool betting of $4.7 million in the Pegasus last year. Total betting in the win pool for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic was $7.52 million.

Handle on a late pick 4 ending in the Pegasus was $2,150,784, up 6.2 percent compared with pick 4 handle of $2,023,813 last year. Handle on a late pick 5 ending in the Pegasus was $1,041,722, down 5.8 percent compared with $1,105.296 in betting last year.

Last year’s Pegasus featured Arrogate and California Chrome in a race billed as a rematch of their Breeders’ Cup Classic stretch duel, a contest that resonated with fans. Although the top five finishers in November’s Breeders’ Cup Classic met again in this year’s Pegasus, the presence of those horses did not generate the same pre-race hype as the Arrogate-California Chrome rematch last year.

This year’s Pegasus had a much different betting profile than last year’s, with Gun Runner the clear favorite and the rest of the field spread out along a relatively normal odds distribution. Last year, Arrogate was 9-10 and California Chrome was 6-5, with the third choice, Keen Ice, at 16-1.

In a release, Gulfstream said that total handle for the 12-race card was a record $41.98 million, up 4 percent compared with the single-card track record of $40.2 million set last year.