Saratoga Meet Off to a Slow Start
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 7/28/2008 4:25:54 PM
Last Updated: 7/30/2008 11:58:06 AM

Saratoga experienced declines in handle and attendance the first week of the 2008 meet.
Photo: Coglianese Photos
Handle and attendance are down through the first week of the 2008 Saratoga meeting, the New York Racing Association reported July 28.

Hampered by rain on the first two days of the meet, attendance is off 25.7%, on-track handle down 12.6%, and total all-sources handle declined 13.7% compared to 2007 opening-week figures

Attendance for the first six days of the 2008 meet was 125,617, down from 169,134 in 2007, for a daily average of 20,936 compared to 28,189 in 2007.

On-track handle at Saratoga was $18,429,950, down from $21,080,631 in 2007, for a daily average of $3,071,658 compared to $3,513,439 in 2007.

Total all-sources handle was $86,510,328, down from $100,293,710 in 2007, for a daily average of $14,418,388 compared to $16,715,618 in 2007.

“We came into the 2008 Saratoga meet knowing that the economy, gas prices, and a particularly early start in July start would result in business declines compared to a record 2007,” NYRA president and chief executive officer Charles Hayward said in a statement. “But, ultimately, we’re more dependent on the weather than anything, and after a rough start early, we rebounded over the weekend.  We’ll look for the weather to cooperate as the meet progresses.  Further, business in the thoroughbred industry has been soft since the Belmont Stakes and we anticipate outperforming the industry during the Saratoga meeting.”

All-sources handle of $25,017,333 for the July 26 Whitney Day fared well against last year’s record-breaking non-Travers Day all-sources handle of $27,708,217, a 9.7% decrease.

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