04/26/2012 1:32PM

Aqueduct handle up dramatically

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From a business perspective, the first quarter of 2012 was good for the New York Racing Association, which saw significant increases in handle at Aqueduct.

Due in large part to great weather, which enabled Aqueduct to run 78 dates from Jan. 1 through April 22, total handle on Aqueduct’s races was $513,798,303, a 22.6 percent increase from the $419,112,928 wagered in 2011 when 73 cards were run during the same time period. Average daily handle was $6,587,158, or 14.7 percent higher than the 2011 figure of $5,741,273.

Total handle factors in money wagered on Aqueduct not only ontrack but nationwide via simulcast.

Ontrack handle on Aqueduct’s races was $70,013,842, a 19.2 percent increase from the 2011 figure of $58,741,413. Average daily ontrack handle was $897,613, up 11.5 percent from the 2011 figure of $804,677.

Aqueduct’s ontrack handle figures include money wagered through NYRA Rewards – via internet or phone – as well as at the Belmont Café.

Attendance at Aqueduct was 316,707, a 1.7 percent decrease from 322,165 in 2011. Average daily attendance was down 8 percent to 4,060 from 4,413.

There were 717 races conducted in 2012, compared to 663 in 2011. That included 50 turf races, 27 more than a year ago. Average betting interests per race rose to 7.48 from 7.03.