by Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
Gun Runner's thrilling victory in the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic capped a picture-perfect day at the Del Mar racetrack, the first-time host of the Breeders' Cup World Championships. Racing fans responded to the full fields of the world's fastest horses with their support at the betting windows, as the two-day wagering totals for the event were the strongest in several years.
The two-day on-track wagering total of $25,181,317 is the highest for the event, which expanded from one day to two in 2007, and a 21.4% increase over the two-day total of $20,742,847 in 2016.
Common-pool handle on Saturday's 12-race Breeders' Cup card was $113,803,603, a 6% increase over the $107,210,210 wagered in 2016.
Saturday's full-card on-track handle of $15,981,250 was the highest since 2006, the last year the Breeders' Cup Championships were conducted over one day.
Common-pool wagering for the two days was $166,077,486 an increase of 5.9% over the 2016 total of $156,861,811. The total handle was the highest since the 2010 Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs when there were two additional Breeders' Cup races.
Saturday's on-track handle was $15,900,813, an increase of 18% over the $13,563,884 wagered on track at Santa Anita last year. The on-track handle at Del Mar for the two days was $25,181,317
“We were treated to world championship performances over two days of the very best in international racing, combined with spectacular weather, smooth operations and excellent customer service from our hosts at Del Mar” Breeders' Cup President and CEO Craig Fravel said. “Del Mar proved to be an extraordinary venue for our Championships and we want to thank its staff, our volunteers and the greater San Diego community for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality extended to our guests from around the world. We also want to thank racing fans for their enthusiastic support of our event.”
“Del Mar, its staff and the community of San Diego absolutely shone for this Breeders' Cup,” said Joe Harper, president and general manager of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. “I could not be more proud of the effort that was put forth by everyone at our racetrack and all the folks in San Diego who jumped on board for this marvelous event and made it into something spectacular. This was racing at its best; it was Del Mar at its best; and it was San Diego being all it could be. It was a complete winner.”
Saturday's attendance was 37,692. The two-day attendance was 70,420. For the comfort of its guests and because of Del Mar's smaller capacity, Breeders' Cup limited ticket sales to 37,500 for each day.
Breeders' Cup Two-Day Attendance and Handle (common-pool) history:
2016, Santa Anita Park – 118,484; $156,861,811
2015, Keeneland Race Course – 94,652; $149,869,035
2014, Santa Anita Park – 98,319; $151,158,813
2013, Santa Anita Park – 94,628; $160,704,877
2012, Santa Anita Park – 89,742; $144,272,332
2011, Churchill Downs – 105,820; $161,512,867
2010, Churchill Downs – 114,353; $173,857,697
2009, Santa Anita Park – 96,496; $153,271,176
2008, Santa Anita Park – 86,588; $155,740,328
2007, Monmouth Park – 69,584; $129,197,262