Gains by Breeders' Cup, at Aqueduct boost November 2019 handle

December 02, 2019 04:50pm

A glance at United States handle figures for November of 2019 shows, for second straight month, a year-over-year gain aided by the Breeders’ Cup run Nov. 1-2 at Santa Anita Park.

Santa Anita handled the most money wagered ($186,716,611) in America last month thanks to the Breeders’ Cup, even though only 31 races were run at the Arcadia, Calif., in November.

The common pool handle, the Breeders’ Cup previously announced, totaled a record for the championships in their two-day format at $174,000,574. Santa Anita then closed its meet the Sunday after the Breeders’ Cup with one more card.

Thanks to those lofty numbers, November showed a nationwide gain of 6.5% over 2018 -- and that’s notable because both days of the Breeders’ Cup also ran in November of last year at Churchill Downs.

The overall U.S. handle of $947,842,811 compares to November 2018’s $890,314,558. October 2019 was up 4.9% over 2019, too, though this year’s overall totals are still lagging a bit behind.

Year over year handle numbers

After Santa Anita, Aqueduct was second in November 2019 handle at $165,394,023, which represented a steep increase over last year’s $124,560,670 on just two fewer races. Average field sizes increased from 7.1 horses per race to 8.4, helping explain the rise.

Even without the Breeders’ Cup, Churchill Downs landed in third, t
otaling $106,360,126 in handle, with purses continuing to boost thanks to the growth of historical horse racing machines in Kentucky. Del Mar -- after having to cancel cards due to weather -- dropped from $100,834,947 in 2018 to $89,954,365 in 2019 but remained fourth on the list. Gulfstream Park West saw its handle jump 4.5% to $79,010,053.

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races also cracked the Top 10 list of tracks with a 25.4% increase in handle, at $22,182,533 this year versus $17,692,126 in 2018 on just 15 more races.

November's top tracks by handle


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