The 2003 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships was a record-setter in terms of handle, both on track at Santa Anita Park and throughout the world via simulcasting. Meanwhile, despite several longshots, there was one winning ticket worth more than $2.6 million in the Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6.
Cup officials said the total handle -- expected to grow a bit when some international numbers come in -- of $120,788,128 eclipse the mark of more than $116 million set last year. The on-track handle of $17,171,465 for 12 races beat the record of $15,410,409 set at Santa Anita in 1986.
The total Ultra Pick 6 pool was $4,489,454. The winning ticket was sold through a wagering outlet in North Dakota. There were 48 consolation tickets (five of six winners) each worth $18,663.
Attendance was 51,648, up from 46,118 at Arlington Park last year but down from the previous two times the Cup was held at Santa Anita. Attendance in 1986 was 69,155, and in 1993 it was 55,130.
Damon Thayer, vice president of event marketing for the Breeders' Cup, said the heat -- the temperature was in the 90s -- probably kept several thousand people from attending an infield party. Keith Chamblin, senior vice president of marketing and industry relations for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, said the wild fires in Southern California also kept some people away.
"It doesn't help when (Interstate 210) is burning 20 miles up the road," Chamblin said. "But it was a great day of racing. We couldn't ask for more."
Smoke hovered in the air Cup day and several days before. In 1993, there were wild fires in the mountains visible from the stands at Santa Anita.