Belmont Attendance Off 9.3%, NYRA Reports

Attendance dropped 9.3% at the Belmont Park spring/summer meeting that concluded on July 22, according to figures released Aug. 12 by the New York Racing Association.

The Belmont meet was 59 days long, one less than in 2005.

On-track handle on Belmont's races didn't reflect the drop in attendance, which fell from a daily average of 7,057 to 6,399. On-track handle on Belmont races was up 1% from a daily average of $1,570,872 in 2005 to $1,585,901. Overall on-track handle, which includes wagering on simulcast races, rose 2.7% ($1,997,146 in 2005 to $2,051,951).

Overall handle on Belmont's races fell 1.5% percent from a daily average of $11,261,142 in 2005 to $11,089,909.

A NYRA official noted that the Belmont Stakes day program was hurt by not having a Kentucky Derby or Preakness winner in the field. That not only hurt attendance but also contributed to a drop of $6 million in wagering that day. The stand was also hurt by significant rain during the month of June, said NYRA spokesman Bill Nader.

"The month of May was strong, but the rain stopped us cold in June and ended a streak of five consecutive months of positive NYRA economic numbers," he said.