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Spa Handle Nearly Even With Last Year

Wagering on Spa races through first two weeks of the meet is nearly the same as 2009.

Wagering across the country on races run through the first two full weeks at Saratoga is nearly identical with 2009 figures according to statistics released today by the New York Racing Association.

While all-sources handle is down 4.7%, 3.3% fewer races have been run over the first two full weeks compared to 2009 (116 versus 120) following NYRA’s decision to curtail the number of races on some days to help ensure fuller fields throughout the meet. As a result, betting interests are also proportionately down 6.9%--979 compared to 1,052 in 2009--with averages of 8.44 per race compared to 8.77 in 2009.

•  Attendance for the first two full weeks of the meet was 271,800, down 3.2% from 280,843 for the first two weeks (12 days) of the 2009 meet, with a daily average of 22,650 compared to 23,404. (*See note on attendance below.)

•  On-track handle for the two weeks totaled $34,380,833, down 11.7% from $38,922,149 for 2009’s first two weeks, with a daily average of $2,865,069 compared to $3,243,512.

•  All-sources handle (which combines wagers on Saratoga races both on-track and from simulcast outlets nationwide) for the two weeks was $163,410,678, down 4.7% from $171,524,103 in 2009, with a daily average of $13,617,557 compared to $14,293,675.

“The 2010 meet is off to a roaring start with great performances and strong support from our on-track and simulcast customers,” said NYRA president and CEO Charles Hayward in a release. “We witnessed a thrilling stretch run by Blame in Saturday’s Whitney (gr. I) and top-class sprinters Champagne d’Oro in the Test (gr. I) and Majesticperfection in the Vanderbilt (gr. I). We’re equally thrilled to be outperforming the industry by providing the most consistent and highest quality Thoroughbred racing of the summer season.”

Daily average attendance for the first 16 days of the meet is 21,516, average on-track handle is $2,778,981, and average all-sources handle is $13,421,777. Average betting interests per race over the 16 days were 8.46 with 70 turf races and 12 taken off the turf.

* Note: 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 two Giveaway Days through day 16 of the 2010 meet as compared to one through day 12 in 2009.