The average field size dropped for 2007 (8.09 horses per race, versus 2006’s 8.12 starters per race) in spite of the fact that purse structure improved 6.9% to $117,814,278 in 2007 versus the 2006 distribution of $110,170,855.
On-track handle on both NYRA and simulcast races was up a solid 2.7% to $429,418,825, while on-track wagering on NYRA-only races reached $310,571,112, a 2.8 percent increase. The daily average on-track handle in ’07 was $1,759,913, up from $1,684,699 in 2006, while daily average total handle reached $10,917,532, up from $10,337,080.
All-sources wagers declined 1.1% for a total of $2,545,030,210, but that figure was undoubtedly impacted by the removal of four racing days – from 248 in 2006 to 244 in 2007. Overall attendance dropped, but only 0.9 percent, with 1,824,652 attendees.
“After a slow start at Aqueduct, 2007 was a very good year at NYRA.” said Charles Hayward, New York Racing Association president and CEO. “We had a solid increase in on-track handle led by a record-breaking $123 million bet on-track for the Saratoga meet.”
Historic moments at New York tracks included Rags to Riches’ victory over Curlin in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and a memorable Travers Stakes (gr. I) win by Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Street Sense.
Racking up especially strong numbers in 2007 were trainer Gary Contessa (159 wins), owner Steve Sigler’s Winning Move Stable (108 wins), and jockey Eibar Coa (262 wins) – all repeating as the top figures in New York in their respective categories.