Breeders’ Cup announced that the first of the two days of this year’s World Championships, Nov. 6 at Santa Anita, showed an increase in attendance and handle.
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There were 37,651 on hand at Santa Anita on a beautiful day in Southern California. The crowd did, however, figure to be bigger because ticket prices were lower than in 2008 and patrons were not required to purchase a package of Friday and Saturday tickets. A year ago, 31,257 attended on Friday.
The common-pool handle for the nine races was $48,439,458 a 1% increase over the 2008 10-race Friday card. An additional $1,159,007 in a separate pool was wagered in France.
A total of approximately $8.8 million was wagered through exchange wagering on Betfair.
The on-track handle was $7,097,789, an increase of 3.6% over last year. On-track handle increased 9.8% when comparing wagering totals from the first nine races of last year’s Friday card to this year’s nine races, when $6,463,571 was bet in 2008.
The common-pool handle does not include the Classic Double on the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I) and the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) or the inaugural jockeys bet.
"This was an encouraging start for the event with solid support from the Southern California racing fans. We saw strong performances today on track, at the turnstiles and at the betting windows," Breeders’ Cup president and CEO Greg Avioli said in a release.
"Today’s strong wagering figures are an encouraging sign for Saturday’s program with the great anticipation and fan appeal of Zenyatta’s participation in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic," said Sherwood C. Chillingworth, executive vice president of the Oak Tree Racing Association.