Saratoga Notebook (Cont.)
A cool and wet Travers day may wind up being the cause if attendance and handle numbers don't reach last year's record numbers.
After 30 of 36 days (through Monday), on-track attendance was down 1.1 percent to 845,088 over the same period last summer. On-track handle was off 2.8 percent to more than $97.3 million.
Steady, sometimes heavy, rain and unseasonably cooler temperatures on Travers day saw the attendance dip to 43,153 and on-track handle to under $6 million. The figures were a sharp drop from last year, when 60,486 wagered more than $8.6 million, both Travers day records.
To reach one million in season attendance for a second straight year, Saratoga would need to average 25,818 over its final six days. Last year's final week average was 26,191, helped by a giveaway-inflated 63,186 on the final Sunday and 27,654 on closing day when NYRA gave away free grandstand admission.
Total handle on Saratoga remains on the rise at more than $462 million for 30 days, up 4.1 percent from last summer.Jockey, Trainer Races to the Wire
The final week should provide an interesting conclusion in the race for both Saratoga's jockey and training titles.
After Monday, Edgar Prado had a six-win cushion over three-time defending champ Jerry Bailey, 46-40, among jockeys. Bailey, who was out of town Aug. 17 and 18 to ride elsewhere, has won seven of eight crowns here since 1994.
Prado won several riding titles in Maryland before moving to New York in 1999, when he finished second at Saratoga with 39 wins, eight behind Bailey. Prado was third with 32 last summer.
Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who has won or shared eight training titles since 1992, had 17 winners from 77 starts, just one in front of Todd Pletcher, who had 16 wins in 78 starts. Pletcher won the 1998 crown with 20 victories.
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