Hong Kong International Races 2012: Huge Handle at Sha Tin (UPDATED)

Victor Fraile

There are some serious dollars flowing into Sha Tin during the 2012 Hong Kong International Races.

The New York Times article about Hong Kong racing that I linked to earlier on Saturday mentioned that the annual handle for races is around $10 billion, a staggering amount for such a small racing jurisdiction. The 2012 Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin, featuring the Hong Kong Cup, are simply raking in cash this year. Below is a summary of the total wagering handle on each race, after conversion to US dollars. The numbers are staggering:

Race 1 $11,914,802 HK$92,339,902
Race 2 $13,733,385 HK$106,433,954
Race 3 $15,526,290 HK$120,328,992
Race 4 $9,604,521 HK$74,435,194 Hong Kong Vase
Race 5 $17,761,173 HK$135,440,611 Hong Kong Sprint
Race 6 $18,721,695 HK$145,093,425
Race 7 $11,863,425 HK$118,636,185 Hong Kong Mile
Race 8 $15,763,272 HK$122,165,602 Hong Kong Cup
Race 9 $19,039,148 HK$147,553,690
Race 10 $25,952,024 HK$201,128,594
Total $159,879,735 HK$1,263,556,149

For reference:

The 2009, 2010 and 2011 Breeders' Cup handled a total of $153 million, $158 million and $155 million, respectively. As for comparisons to the juggernaut that is the Kentucky Derby, the 2012 Kentucky Derby handled $133.1 million, with the entire Churchill card handling $187 million.

Hong Kong (and most countries) don't have a race that can compare to the massive betting on the Derby, but the handle on the non-feature races is quite consistent and incredibly impressive. Oddly enough, the Hong Kong Cup didn't draw the most action on the Sha Tin card, that came in the two races after the feature. I'm not sure if that's due to multi-race wagers ending in races 9 and 10, or if it's a reflection of the chalky nature of the Cup.

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