Handle on the Breeders' Cup World Championship dropped 5.1%, from $147.5 million on 14 races last year to $140.1 million for 15 races this year, according to preliminary commingled figures released late Saturday by Breeders' Cup. According to a Racing Form report, it was the first decline for Breeders' Cup since 2007 at Monmouth Park but still the second-highest for the event in its 28-year history.
Churchill Downs also saw a significant decline in attendance on Saturday compared to last year, from 72,739 in 2010 to 65,143 this year. Both declines in attendance and handle can be attributed in large part to the surges last year created by Zenyatta's historic attempt to retire undefeated with a second Classic win.
For the nine Breeders' Cup races on Saturday, handle was $97.6 million, a decline of 2.5% from $100.2 million on eight races last year. Average handle was $10.8 million compared to $12.53 million last year. All figures are preliminary, commingled figures. This year, betting on the Classic in all pools was $18.9 million, compared to a record $25.5 million in betting in Zenyatta's Classic last year, a difference of $6.4 million.
In total, 173 horses ran this year in 15 races, compared with 164 horses in 14 races last year.
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