The average daily total handle, including XpressBet wagers, rose 8.6% to $12.05 million compared with last years average of $11.1 million. The total all sources handle for the meet was $1.02 billion, up from $99.2 million a year ago."We enjoyed excellent weather and great racing and also benefited from a record 25 pick six carryovers, which positively impacted our handle numbers," said Jack Liebau, Santa Anita's president and general manager.The only smudge on the meet was a 5.3% decline in average daily attendance. An average 9,930 people attended the races compared with 10,486 a year ago. Track officials attributed the decline in attendance to a shift in marketing strategy. The track focusing its efforts away from the general public and toward group sales and promotions specifically for members of Santa Anita's frequent players program.
Good weather and the introduction of account wagering helped Santa Anita Park exceed $1 billion in total handle for the third time in five years.The 85-day meet that ended Sunday experienced significant increases in all handle categories. Even Santa Anita's average daily handle statistics rose despite running two more days than last year. Out-of-state wagering grew the most, rising 12.5% on average to $5.02 million compared with last year's $4.47 million average out-of-state handle. Average daily on-track handle increased 2.2% to $2.5 million and average in-state wagering increased 4.8% to $3.5 million. Track owner Magna Entertainment introduced its XpressBet account wagering service Jan. 25, after Santa Anita had already raced 22 days. The service handled a total $10.5 million during the last 63 racing days, an average of $166,667 a day.