12/20/2013 11:54AM

Woodbine: Total handle falls, but average daily handle rises at 2013 meet

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Total wagering declined but the per-card betting increased during the recently concluded 131-day Woodbine Thoroughbred meet.

The all-sources wagering of $405,559,284 was down 10.6 percent from last year’s total of $453,865,564, which had 25 more race days. The per-card betting of $3,095,872 was a 6.4 percent increase over last year’s average daily handle of $2,909,394. Wagering in the greater Toronto area rose by 0.94 percent in 2013 over 2012.

The average field size remained the same this year, at 8.70 horses. The average field size for stakes races decreased from 7.71 horses in 2012 to 7.68 this year.

The July 7 Queen’s Plate Day featured a record-breaking handle for a Plate card of $9.7 million.

Nick Eaves, president and chief executive officer of the Woodbine Entertainment Group, said he was proud of the 2013 season.

“We received an enthusiastic response from customers for our fan-based initiatives, which included a takeout reduction,” Eaves said in a statement. “Woodbine now offers a continent-low 14.95 percent takeout on win wagers. We also introduced the Jackpot Hi 5, in which two winning tickets, worth $275,000 and $148,000 each, were celebrated since the launch of the wager in October. Other recent horseplayer-concentrated programs like fractional wagering were also expanded.”

Luis Contreras won his third consecutive riding title. His win total of 168 was 25 more than runner-up Eurico Da Silva, who had 220 fewer mounts. Da Silva won the money title by about $5,000 over Contreras. Da Silva’s mounts earned $8,427,148, and he also had a meet-leading 27 stakes victories.

Mark Casse notched his seventh straight training title and eighth overall, winning 85 races. He won 94 races in 2012.

Bear Stable won the most races among all owners, 33. John Oxley led all owners in money won with just more than $2.2 million.

Phil’s Dream led all horses in number of wins with seven in 10 starts.

Opening day for the 2014 season is April 12, a meet that is scheduled for 133 days.