"As we have said all along, New York racing is appealing to fans year round," Meyocks said. "It's not just Belmont and Saratoga. There aren't many tracks in the country that do the business that Aqueduct does and the figures are even more impressive given the time of the year Aqueduct is in operation."
Good weather and lower takeout were credited with producing double digit increases in average attendance and significant gains in average on-track handle at Aqueduct.Daily average attendance was 5,256, an increase of 11.8% over the '01 average of 4,700. Daily average on-track handle was up 8.7% from $1,447,690 to $1,574,086 while daily average commingled handle increased 8.4% to $9,236,441 from the '01 figure of $8,519,174.Total attendance for the meet was 457,247. On-track handle added up to $136,945,498 while total handle reached $803,570,338."The effects of the lowered takeout are obvious," said Terry Meyocks, the New York Racing Association's president and chief operating officer. Lower takeouts at NYRA tracks have returned an additional $29 million to horseplayers since July 25, according to Meyocks."With our racing fans receiving a better return on their winning wagers, it is allowing them to wager more on the races," he said. "It's simple economics."Interstate wagering on Aqueduct races during the 88-day meet was up a daily average of 10.5% rising to $4,945,104. The average for the 90-day meet of 2001 was $4,478,650. Handle rose even though Magna Entertainment did not simulcast most of Aqueduct's races in California this winter.