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Storm Hurt Cup Handle by About $9 Million

Wagering at outlets in seven states was down 29% from 2011, Breeders' Cup said.

A review of wagering on this year's World Championships indicated the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy cost Breeders' Cup roughly $9 million in pari-mutuel handle compared with 2011 figures, organization officials said.

The common-pool handle of $144,272,332 on the two-day event at Santa Anita Park was down 7% from $155,525,947 last year at Churchill Downs. Breeders' Cup officials said Nov. 9 that betting outlets in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia experienced a 29% decline in handle over the two days when compared with 2011.

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic were hit hard by the Oct. 28 storm, which caused widespread power outages that continue.

"While numerous factors come into play in analyzing wagering totals, it is apparent that the effects of the storm suppressed handle from what are traditionally strong areas of the country," said Ken Kirchner of Falkirk International, a wagering and simulcast consultant to Breeders' Cup. "New York was especially hard hit."

Kirchner said the New York Racing Association was down $1.4 million, or 26%, over the two days, while Nassau Off-Track Betting was down $1 million or 56%; Yonkers Raceway handle was off 50%; Suffolk OTB was down 39%; and Catskill OTB experienced a decrease of 38%.

A crowd of 89,742 wagered $20,680,143 on track at Santa Anita over the two days, a 4% increase over the 2009 event, the last time the event was held there. It was the largest on-track handle ever at a venue outside Louisville, Ky.