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Saratoga Handle, Attendance Decline

All-source wagering fell by less than 1% and attendance was down 3.9%.

Wagering and attendance both declined slightly during the 40-day 2013 meet at Saratoga Race Course that concluded on Labor Day, Sept. 2.

All-sources handle, which includes wagers on Saratoga races both on-track and from simulcast outlets nationwide, was $586,685,154, a slight decline from the $588,351,964 figure last year. Year-over-year all-sources handle figures dipped into negative territory as a result of the final two days of the meet when wet conditions necessitated that eight scheduled turf races be moved to the main track, leading to several scratches and reduced field sizes in those races, according to a release from the New York Racing Association.

On-track handle on Saratoga races totaled $147,456,901, off 2.1% from $150,637,998 last year. The on-track handle combines wagering at Saratoga with wagering downstate at the Belmont Café and the Aqueduct simulcast center.

On-track attendance of 867,182 represented a 3.9% decrease from the 901,033 that went through the turnstiles in 2012. NYRA noted that attendance includes "giveaway days" in which some patrons pay multiple admissions to obtain more than one giveaway item, either at the track entrance or at the multiple admissions area inside the track. There were four such days in each 2012 and 2013.

During the meet, average betting interests per race were 8.1 (3,383 total over 420 races) compared with 8.4 (3,492 total over 417 races) in 2012. There were 200 turf races and 24 races taken off the turf and moved to the main track in 2013, compared to 197 on and 27 off in 2012.