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Chad Harmon

Breeders' Cup Reports 8% Hike in Total Handle

Attendance of 35,833 was up 3.5% from last year, Breeders' Cup officials said.

Breeders' Cup reported total commingled pari-mutuel handle for its Nov. 1, program at Santa Anita Park on Friday was up 8% from 2012.

Total handle was $51,521,146 versus $48,586,765 in 2012, according to the official numbers released by Breeders' Cup. The reported attendance of 35,833 was up 3.5% from 34,619 last year.

There were 11 races this year versus 10 on the 2012 Friday program. Ken Kirchner, president of FalKirk International and wagering consultant for Breeders' Cup, said handle was up about $2.3 million this year when the first 10 races are compared with the 10 last year.

Wagering on the President of the United Arab Emirates Cup, a grade I Arabian race, totaled $1.7 million. It was carded as the final race on the program.

The five Breeders' Cup races—there were six last year on the Friday card—generated handle of $35,549,196.

On-track handle at Santa Anita, which also hosted the World Championships last year, was $7,205,145. In 2012 the same program produced wagering of $7,298,174 with one less race.

"We're very pleased," said Ken Kirchner, president of FalKirk International and wagering consultant for Breeders' Cup. "It's a great number going into tomorrow where the fields are full."

Last year's handle numbers were down in part because of the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast.

"We're off to a very solid start for what promises to be an excellent weekend of world-class racing, and we are encouraged by the response of the fans both here and around the country," Breeders' Cup president and chief executive officer Craig Fravel said in a statement.