08/26/2014 9:24AM

All-sources handle still down at Saratoga


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- With one week remaining in the 2014 Saratoga season, all-sources handle is down five percent while on-track handle is up nearly one percent when compared to the same time frame last year.

Through the first 34 days of racing, all-sources handle is $475,783,933, down five percent compared to the $501,343,617 wagered through the first 34 days of last year’s meet. Thus far, Saratoga has conducted 348 races -- including 10 steeplechase events. Last year, to this point, Saratoga had run 356 races, including seven steeplechase heats. There have been 158 turf races run with 27 taken off due to weather. Last year, to this point, there were 186 turf races run with only 11 taken off.

Ontrack handle is $128,055,428, an increase of 0.9 percent over the $126,910,545 wagered to this point last year. The ontrack handle numbers, as they did last year, reflect money wagered at Aqueduct and Belmont Park, which are both open for simulcasting, as well as through the NYRA Rewards program.

The ontrack handle increase hardly mirrors the reported attendance increase. To this point, Saratoga’s reported attendance is 825,454, a 12.1 percent increase over last year’s mark of 736,102. NYRA sold approximately 6,400 season passes for Saratoga this year and those passes are counted in the daily attendance whether the season pass holder attends the races or not.

The weekend produced mixed results. Travers business was down as all-sources handle was $39,907,200, a 3.5 percent decrease from $41,363,760 a year ago. Ontrack handle was down negligibly from $10,980,379 in 2013 to $10,850,894. Travers attendance was 46,557, down from 47,597 last year. NYRA ran 14 races on Travers Day each of the last two years.

Sunday’s Saratoga Showcase Day -- a card devoted to New York-breds -- produced gains over last year’s post-Travers card. Ontrack handle was $4,228,602, a 14.4 percent increase over the $3,696,248 wagered last year. All-sources handle was $15,940,337, up four percent over last year’s figure of $15,314,099. Reported attendance was 24,843, compared to 18,706 in 2013.

Saratoga’s meet runs through Monday before racing returns to Belmont Park on Sept. 5.