Handle Increases Continue at Belmont Park

On-track handle, total handle, and NYRA Rewards account wagering were up.

On-track handle, total handle, and New York Racing Association Rewards account wagering continued their upward trends at the 2012 Belmont Park spring/summer meet which ran 55 days from April 27 through July 15, according to NYRA.

On-track handle on NYRA races was $88 million, up 13.4% from $77 million in 2011. All-sources handle was $563 million, up 9.4% from $515 million in 2011.

NYRA Rewards account wagering, including bets made on Belmont races and simulcast races, also posted gains. NYRA Rewards telephone wagering was up 17.8%, increasing to $15.7 million from $13.3 million, and Internet wagering was up 26.7%, increasing to $27.4 million from $21.6 million.

Handle at the Aqueduct Racetrack simulcast center also increased, with $36 million wagered on Belmont’s races and on simulcast races, a 53.7% increase from $23 million wagered at Aqueduct in 2011.

Attendance at Belmont Park decreased 1.1% to 328,915 from 332,413 in 2011. Attendance at the Aqueduct simulcast center was 121,820, a 158% increase from last year’s attendance of 47,208.

There were 525 races run this year, compared to 530 in 2011, due to the cancellation of five races on June 22 because of a storm and loss of power at Belmont Park. Average betting interests per race increased 12% to 8.2 (4,294 total) compared to 7.3 (3,894 total) in 2011. Turf races decreased to 223 with 59 taken off the turf, compared to 244 on and 29 off in 2011.

Aqueduct and the Belmont Café will be open for simulcasting for the Saratoga meet which runs from July 20 through Sept. 3 with live racing six days a week, Wednesday through Monday.