Daily average attendance and handle were off across the board at the recently concluded 38-day Belmont fall meet. Belmont's fall meet in 2002 consisted of 33 racing days.Daily average attendance was off 3.1% from 6,122 in 2002 to 5,930 this season. Daily average total handle, including incoming simulcasting, was off 4.5% at $10,606,675 compared to '02's figure of $11,106,494. Total wagering averages on NYRA races slipped 5% from $10,606675 to $10,149,324. On-track wagering was off more, down 10.6% to $1,530,721 from $1,711,271 in 2002. On-track wagering on NYRA races only was down 20% from $1,291,008 to $1,073,371."The last two weeks of the extended fall meet were unseasonably cold and the Belmont facility does not handle cold weather well. As a result, turf racing was limited," said Bill Nader, NYRA senior vice president. "With a shortened live card on Breeders' Cup day which is normally simulcast to Aqueduct, we were sure to be impacted on business on NYRA races."We also anticipated a negative impact because of the introduction of unlimited simulcasting at OTBs throughout the state," he explained. "This is the first full downstate meet conducted since the expansion of simulcasting went into effect. Unfortunately, this will be a continuing trend for the next six months at Aqueduct."Even considering those factors, it was simply not a good meet from a business perspective," Nader said.
On-track wagering from all sources reached $58,167,413 from $56,471,940. On-track wagering on NYRA races was $40,788,110. A total of $42,063,268 was wagered last year.