Saturday saw a trio of Kentucky Derby prep races run across the United States, and each of the day's cards at Keeneland, Aqueduct and Santa Anita demonstrated handle increases over 2017.
On Blue Grass day, Keeneland set non-Breeders' Cup single-day wagering records for all-sources handle, Pick 4 and Pick 5 pools. Total all-sources handle was $22,634,861, eclipsing the previous record of $21,736,983 set on April 9, 2016. The All-Stakes Pick Four ending in the Toyota Blue Grass did $1,065,002 versus the previous record of $733,800 set on April 8, 2017. The All-Stakes Pick Five handled $899,196, smashing the previous record of $653,827 on April 20, 2013.
The total crowd at Keeneland on the brisk Saturday afternoon was 14,269.
Wood Memorial Day at Aqueduct posted a 3.3 percent increase in all-sources handle from 2017, according to figures released by NYRA. The 11-race card, featuring five graded stakes, generated all-sources handle of $16,404,541, including $2,074,149 in on-track handle. The all-sources handle bested the 2017 mark that generated $15,877,064 for a 12-race card.
The 81st running of the Grade I, $1-million Santa Anita Derby and 12 other races proved a success on every level Saturday, as an on-track crowd of 39,023 (an eight percent increase over last year's 36,155) turned out for world-class performances in both the Santa Anita Derby and its 3-year-old filly counterpart, the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks.
In addition to an increase in on-track attendance, Saturday's all-sources pari-mutuel handle of $24,170,879 was up 16 percent over last year, when 11 races were run. On-track handle of $3,494,979 was up seven percent.
“It was a sensational day and we want to thank all of our fans, on-track and across the country, for their support,” said Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer for The Stronach Group (TSG). “The racing was tremendous all day. We had world-class performances in both the Derby and the Oaks and it's exciting to think that horses like Justify and Midnight Bisou are going to be representing us in some of the biggest races in the world next month.”
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