12/07/2011 1:59PM

Woodbine: All-sources handle rises 7.5 percent in 2011


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Buoyed by continued growth from simulcast sites south of the border, the Woodbine Thoroughbred meeting showed a 7.5 percent increase in all-sources handle for the 2011 meeting that ended Sunday.

It marked the third consecutive year of significant gains in handle on its live Thoroughbred product as Woodbine had reported an 8.9 percent increase last year and a 7 percent increase in 2009.

A total of $423,210,680 was wagered on the 165-day meeting, up from $393,506,550 for last year’s 167-day meeting.

The daily average handle this year was $2,564,913, up from $2,356,326 for an increase of 8.9 percent.

Wagering from U.S. sources accounted for the $30 million increase and was up by 15.6 percent over last year. Woodbine’s home market area was down by 3.2 percent.

“Woodbine racing is attractive to our customers both north and south of the border,” Sean Pinsonneault, chief operating offier for the Woodbine Entertainment Group, said in a press release. “With the influx of many U.S. owners, trainers, and jockeys, the competition on the track is strong and the fans recognize that.”

Pinsonneault also noted that wagering records had been set on Queen’s Plate Day ($8,768,145), Woodbine Mile Day ($6,064,189), and Canadian International Day ($6,400,112).

Overnight and stakes purses, including supplements and nominations fees, totaled almost $82.36 million, for an average of $499,139 per card. The 1,522 races run at the meeting represented a 2.2 percent decrease from the 1,557 races in 2010. Average field size dipped from 8.7 in 2010 to 8.5 this year.

Contreras, Casse win meet titles

Luis Contreras was the leading rider in both races won with 212 and in purses earned with $11,563,915, a record amount for a Woodbine meeting.

Patrick Husbands was second in both categories with 192 wins and $9,633,621, and Emma-Jayne Wilson was third on both lists with 135 wins and $6,333,715.

Contreras dead-heated with Husbands for most stakes wins, with 23 apiece.

Trainer Mark Casse established meet records with 119 wins and $6,670,906 and topped the stakes-won list with 13.

Reade Baker was second in wins with 61 and third in purses with $3,019,593. Roger Attfield’s total of $3,217,827 was second in that category.

Bob Tiller and Steve Asmussen finished in a tie for third in races won with 45 apiece.

Eugene Melnyk’s Melynk Racing Stable was the leading owner in money won with $1,622,395. Danny Dion’s Bear Stable was next with $1,581,254.

Bear Stable won a meet-high 33 races, and Melnyk was next with 29.

Woodbine Oaks and Queen’s Plate winner Inglorious was the meeting’s top earner with $1,053,000. Hank’s Hill’s seven wins were the most by any competitor.

Next year’s meeting begins on Good Friday, April 6, and is scheduled to run through Dec. 16.