The first two days of the inaugural Belmont Stakes Racing Festival showed sharp increases in on-track and all-sources wagering over the same two days in 2014, the New York Racing Association announced June 5.
Total on-track handle at the New York Racing Association's three tracks rose 2% to $374,387,425 in 2014, the second-highest such total over the past six years, NYRA announced March 27.
The opening weekend at Keeneland, which marked a return to a dirt racing main track for the first time since the spring of 2006, saw steady attendance and on-track wagering but total handle declined 5.7%.
With sporadic rain showers throughout the day for Keeneland's fall meet opener Friday, which also marked the return to dirt for the Lexington track, attendance and handle figures were down compared with last year.
Keeneland announced April 28 that all-sources handle for the 15-day meet that ended April 25 totaled $141,119,476 compared to $161,990,603 wagered during the 16-day spring meet in 2013.
The Arcadia, Calif., track received final handle figures for its winter-spring meeting April 25. Handle improved 3% to $710,813,700. That increase came during a first quarter that saw U.S. handle decline 2.81%.
Attendance, on-track handle, and total handle all posted gains over 2011 totals as 25,676 turned out for opening day of the 144th meeting at Saratoga Race Course July 20.
Keeneland closed its 2008 fall season on Saturday, Oct. 25, with near-record attendance for the 17-day race meeting that began Oct. 3. On-track handle fell 8.3% and all-source wagering was down 17.8%.
Strong business trends continue on the New York Racing Association circuit with significant gains in purse, handle and attendance figures registered in the recently concluded 2007 Belmont Park Fall Championship meet.
Arkansas' Oaklawn Park drew an average of 11,251 fans a day this season, down from last year's 12,428. Based on figures through the meet's April 14 close, wagering by Oaklawn patrons on races at the Hot Springs track was down 11.1%. But wagering on simulcast races was up 8%. Calvin Borel won the jockey title with 70 winners. Cole Norman won the training title by saddling 43 winners.
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