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Unrivaled Belle comes home in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic under the lights at Churchill Downs.
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Mathea Kelley

Breeders' Cup Enjoys First Day Increases

Attendance and handle on the rise for first world championship event under lights.

Attendance for the Breeders’ Cup Championship program Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs increased by 10.5% over last year at Santa Anita Park with 41,614 were on hand for the 10-race card that included six Breeders’ Cup World Championships races and finished under the lights.

Attendance in 2009 for the first day of the Breeders' Cup festival was 37,651.

The common-pool handle for the 10 races was $53,010,624, a 9.4% increase over the $48,439,459 wagered on last year's first-day card. For the six Breeders’ Cup races handle this year was $45,393,976, a 13% increase over last year's total of $40,277,320.

The on-track handle was $8,109,443, up 14% over the $7,097,789 bet on-track for the first day in 2009.

The common-pool handle does not include the "Classic Double" on the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic and the Breeders’ Cup Classic or the special Breeders’ Cup Jockey Bet.

“This is a very encouraging start for the event with excellent support in the local market as we head into Zenyatta's quest for perfection on Saturday” said Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Greg Avioli.

The 27th Breeders’ Cup, with 14 races worth nearly $26 million, concludes with eight races Nov. 6, including the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). General admission tickets and a limited number of reserved seats are still available at the Churchill Downs box office. Post time for Saturday's first race is 12:05 p.m. ET.

There is a Pick 6 carryover of $817,642 heading into the Saturday program and there will be a mandatory payoff on the wager.