Mid-Atlantic handle bounced back strongly this weekend on the strength of big cards of state-bred stakes at two area tracks.  Overall, weekend handle on the region’s live product rose more than 44 percent, to over $7.5 million.  Nevertheless, it was, in aggregate, the second-slowest weekend recorded in the last four months.

Charles Town, Laurel Park, The Meadowlands, Parx Racing and Penn National hosted six racing cards over the weekend, leading to an average of more than $1.2 million in wagering per live racing program, according to Equibase charts.

Charles Town and Laurel Park led the gainers, with both more than doubling last weekend’s handle.  Charles Town’s West Virginia Breeders Classics night generated more than $1.5 million in handle, a record for the card.  Bridge jumpers apparently weighed in on the third race, driving Hidden Canyon down to 1-9 in the win pool and building the win-place-show pools up to more than $300,000 — more than three times that of any other race.  That total represented an increase of 15 percent over 2012.

At Laurel meanwhile, the Maryland Million card drew almost $2.3 million in wagering, as compared with less than $1.1 million the prior weekend.  That handle was bolstered by an announced on-track crowd of more than 18,000.  The handle represented a decline of more than six percent from 2012.

Penn National and Parx Racing both enjoyed gains on the weekend.  Penn National’s Saturday handle rose by more than 29 percent, while the two-day handle for Parx rose more than five percent.

Only the Meadowlands saw its weekend handle fall, dropping 11 percent.