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.

Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
If the gambler would quit blowing their brains out in a casino, and rediscover horseracing we would have it made!,,,,
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Smart players demand value and good races to bet into these days. I have sat out tons of races. I go to whatever track offers me the best option for my buck. I can say recent trends Gulfstream has declined while Monmouth and Canterbury is on the upswing.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
SO shutting down the self service machines and windows as the final race is running is also an on track mistake .if they stayed open an extra 10 minutes people would be able to check their tickets and maybe even place a bet on the simulcast races.as is its like Saratoga is in a hurry to kick people out and to the doors. also so much could be done to facilitate betting . and last $5 for a bottle of purified (filtered tap water) is excessive.I don't care if beer is expensive or even soda but in 90 degree weather water is essential and to shove out $15 for water over one card especially glorified tap water as opposed to real spring water is like scalping your customers.they either pay up or die of thirst.
Charles Bedard More than 1 year ago
Bring a water bottle and refill at the water fountains. The reason they charge $5 is that people buy it.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
honesty is essential for people to bet with confidence,when you see jockeys do stupid things like run 21 seconds dueling their horses into defeat on purpose or a race that is won in a time 5 seconds slower than a weaker race at the same distance with a crawling 52 seconds quarter.people get tight. It also does not help to have a bunch of short races 5f and 5 1/2 f races .have quality long races 1m to 1 1/2m preferably on turf.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
Is it asking to much to see some turf races longer then 9f?....Bueller? a handful the whole meet is pretty sad, as is the fact that the only 2 10f races at the spa on dirt are restricted to 3 year olds. you look at the card daily and it is loaded with sprints Dirt/Turf, Mile races, and a couple of 8.5f races. Not to mention the use of the inner turf course which is not my cup of tea. I would like the Mellon course or nothing. which is why I don't spend a dime on the Spa.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
Dime on the spa, aside from Travers day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the track's perspective Total Handle really doesn't matter. It's how much Take they generate and how much of it the retain that's of vital importance. You never get this number. The first reason you don't is because the Take they generate is how much money they've separated from the bettors. And the second reason is that the difference between what a track generates in Take Out and what it retains after rebates and discounting to simulcasters is a much truer indication of both the sagacity of the business plan and the financial health of a race track. If total handle is flat or failing, and the cost of generating handle is rising, the bottom line numbers will always be more problematic than the Total Handle figures indicate.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Great perspective, I hope folks really get what you are saying here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It doesnt matter because the track owners will just increase their take. Instead of 80%, they'll move it up to 85% of pools. Its all about price manipulations to the bettors.
Mike Reinhardt More than 1 year ago
Please, all you doom and gloomers are missing out on some key points here. Saratoga has had less races in general, and less turf races because of rain this year. When you take races off the turf, you lose handle. Last year was sunny (if a bit hot, which is probably why on track handle is up this year... I went a couple of times last year and it was brutally hot. This year has been much kinder and I have been up 4 times already) and this helped the all source handle. That is the story, plain and simple.
James More than 1 year ago
Thanks Mike for some perspective. Saratoga is in great shape. It may have room to grow but it has already outgrown its location. Those of us who go every year know that you need to stay 18-25 miles away if you want a clean room for under $150 night. It's hard to increase on track attendance under those circumstances.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The numbers will drop next year with Tom Durkins replacement. LC is not a good fit for the Spa, Better RC announcers out there.. Bad choice NYRA..
mikey More than 1 year ago
Larry is one of the best.Would you rather have one of the other's like Monmouth park .The Cali race callers are not as good as Larry.Now he has the 2 prime meets in the country Gulfstream in the winter and NYRA the rest of the year.Eat his dust Trevor.
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
When deciding whether to attend and wager at a track I have never considered the quality of the track announcer. Durkin certainly was excellent for years but I doubt he contributed to up or down mutuels at a given meet.
James More than 1 year ago
Really ?!? On Saturday you couldn't hear him during the stretch run with 46,000 people cheering.
billybudd16 More than 1 year ago
Choosing to go to the races because of the track announcer is like going to a baseball game because of who is umpiring. Tom Durkin is the best but it does not drive attendance.
James G Romano More than 1 year ago
Did not know that Durkin had 'roadies' and 'groupies' following him! Listen, Boston hockey has the worst voice ,play-by-pay guy and fans do not switch for that reason. They might turn the sound off,but still remain Bruins` fans.
Tom Callahan More than 1 year ago
As a lifelong New Yorker who has been playing for 30 years and been making an annual pilgrimage to the Spa for the past 15 years, there's one change that i really dislike. The grouping of the best races on the card at the end of the day in order to create "all stakes pick fours." This leads to a lot of days where races 1 thru 6 are lackluster. I love betting Saratoga, but find myself skipping ahead, something I never would've done 5 years ago. 40 days IS sustainable, but not with 11 race cards. 9 races weekdays. 10, max 11 on weekends. And intersperse the biggies throughout the day.
James G Romano More than 1 year ago
PLease,someone,ELIMINATE THOSE 10 CENTS superfectas! Those guys slow everyone at the windows and machines by playing strange combinations or 'their numbers' no matter the race.Why not increase it to 50 cents and up? is this too much to ask i n the Year 2014 ?
Walter More than 1 year ago
The $.10 increment helps horseplayers. Would you rather pay taxes on your $.50 or $1 supers? If you can't wait in in line, bet enough to go to the big window.