Total Saratoga Handle Close to 2009 Figure

NYRA released statistics for the first four weeks of meeting.

Total wagering remained close to last year's comparable figure while attendance and ontrack handle inched upward despite two rainy days through the fourth full week of racing at Saratoga, according to figures released Aug. 23 by the New York Racing Association.

All-sources handle for the first four full weeks of the meet was down 3.5%, but that decline is largely due to seven fewer races run than in 2009 (232 versus 239), NYRA officials said.

“All-sources handle is the predominant financial measure for NYRA and for our horsemen and breeders since total wagering ultimately determines purse size,” NYRA president and chief executive officer Charles Hayward said in a statement. “We are exceeding our projections through four weeks, outpacing our main competitors, and we’re encouraged by a promising forecast for this weekend’s Double Day Spectacular with a full Travers (gr. I) field on Saturday (Aug. 28), and Rachel Alexandra’s return on Sunday (Aug. 29)."

Attendance for the first four full weeks of the meet (24 days, days five through 28) was 537,491, down 8.6% from 588,173 for the first 24 days of the 2009 meet, with a daily average of 22,395 compared with 24,507.

(Attendance figures for giveaway days include patrons who 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 have been three giveaway days in 2010, and there were three through the first four weeks of the 2009 meet.)

On-track handle for the four weeks totaled $67,779,646, down 8.8% from $74,299,070 for the first four weeks of 2009, with a daily average of $2,824,152 compared with $3,095,795.

All-sources handle (which combines wagers on Saratoga races both ontrack and from simulcast outlets nationwide) for the four weeks was $314,841,190 compared with $326,169,776 in 2009, with a daily average of $13,118,383 compared with $13,590,407 last year.

Daily averages for the first 28 days of the meet were 21,784 for attendance, $2,780,804 for on-track handle, and $13,077,819 for all-sources handle. Average betting interests per race for the meet were 8.38 compared with 8.41 in 2009, with 119 turf races and 23 taken off the turf.