Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino enjoyed another successful racing season, seeing an increase in off-track wagering and total handle numbers, according to an April 23 release.
The year's total handle was $65,568,593 for the 2009-10 season, an impressive increase of 5.44% over the previous year. Also, Sunland's off-track wagering topped out at $58,274,281, an increase of 6.34% over the 2008-09 season.
A number of factors led to the overall gains. First, the track is still enjoying the effects of Mine That Bird's victory in last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and the increased profile Sunland Park gained as a result of being the horse's home track. In addition, the track also got a boost from the annual Sunland Derby, which this year was graded for the first time. The fact that the Sunland Derby was a grade III race ensured that its major stakes race featured top horses, top jockeys, and top trainers from across the nation.
The racetrack also named its top horses in a variety of divisions after Tuesday's final day of the meet.
In Thoroughbred awards, Endorsement was named Sunland's 2009-10 Horse of the Meet. The 3-year old colt, who is owned by WinStar Farm and trained by Shannon Ritter, won the Sunland Derby by three lengths as an 11-1 longshot.