Travers day on-track handle improved slightly in 2017 compared with last year

Travers day on-track handle improved slightly in 2017 compared with last year

Anne M. Eberhardt

Star Power Helps Lift Travers Day Handle

Travers day attendance fell 1.9% from last year to 47,725.

With a Travers Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) field that featured this year's three different classic winners and a race card that included reigning champions Songbird and Drefong, Travers day 2017 enjoyed increases in on-track and all-sources handle.

All-sources handle for the 13-race card improved 5% from last year to $47,870,987 while on-track handle improved slightly, up 0.7%, to $10,862,095. The all-sources handle total is the second-highest in Travers day history, trailing only the $49.67 million wagered on the 2015 card when Triple Crown winner American Pharoah  competed in the Travers.

West Coast won the Travers while the three classic winners, Always Dreaming, Cloud Computing, and Tapwrit, failed to gain a placing. This year's running marked only the third time in Travers history, and first time since 1982, to feature the three individual Triple Crown winners.

Earlier in the day, Forever Unbridled caught Songbird late to post a neck victory in the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) while Drefong delivered as the even-money favorite in the Forego Stakes (G1), scoring by four lengths.

Those racing stars helped fuel interest in a card that featured 16 fewer starters than last year, 108 in 2017 compared with 124 last year.

While handle improved, 2017 Travers day attendance declined 1.9% from last year to 47,725. That Travers day attendance total is the smallest since 2014.