A successful Breeders' Cup and strong meets at Saratoga and at Aqueduct this fall helped the New York Racing Association achieve gains in on-track handle and total handle for the year.Daily average total handle was up 6.3% during the 257-day season to $10,747,635 from $10,107,358. Total wagering for the year was $2.76 billion last year compared to $2.61 billion during the 258 days of racing in 2000. The daily average on-track handle was $2,055,579 compared with $1,970,36, an increase of 4.3%. Total on-track attendance was on par with 2000. The total attendance for last year was 2,456,446, an average of 9,558, compared to 2000 when total attendance was 2,469,928, an average of 9,573."There were marked gains during the last half the year," said Terry Meyocks, NYRA president. "The reduced takeout and the terrific weather really gave us a boost. In just the five plus months, the reduced takeout returned $17,383,279 nationally."Aqueduct contributed to NYRA's gains with an exceptional strong fall meet. The average daily total handle was up 14.1% to $8,675,437 compared with 2000's fall meet average handle of $7,602,126. On-track handle was up 13.1% to $1,021,363 compared with an on-track average of $903,346 in 2000. NYRA reduced its takeout last year starting at Saratoga. Win, place, and show bets were reduced from 15% to 14%, two-horse bets such as exactas from 20% to 17.5%, and pick six wagers on non-carryover days from 25% to 20%. Saratoga's total handle increased 4.9% to a record $553,620,155 and total on-track wagering rose 3.3% to $116,559,008. Total handle for Belmontês fall meet was up 28% and total on-track handle was up 24.4%."Again, a combination of more money in the bettor's pockets because of reduced takeout and the unusually mild fall helped drive these gains and hopefully that will continue," Meyocks said.
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer said all options regarding the New York Racing Association franchise remain on the table while his administration wrestles with various ideas for the future of racing in the state.