05/07/2008 11:00PM

Aqueduct has rise in business

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Aqueduct posted gains in attendance and handle for the 80-day winter/spring meet that ran from Jan. 1 through April 27, the New York Racing Association announced Thursday.

With five more racing days than the corresponding period in 2007, daily average attendance rose 5.7 percent from 2,610 to 2,760. Total attendance jumped 12.8 percent from 195,748 to 220,793.

Daily average ontrack handle increased 4.3 percent from $602,659 to $628,295 with the total growing 11.2 percent from $45,199,421 to $50,263,568.

Daily average all-sources handle, which includes money bet on Aqueduct races from simulcast outlets, went up by 3.7 percent from $7,847,427 to $8,139,712. All-sources handle totaled $651,176,929, a 10.6 percent increase over last year's $588,557,037.

Purses were up 6.2 percent over the last year.

"The Aqueduct meet was very strong for NYRA particularly in comparison with the rest of the industry," NYRA's president and CEO Charles Hayward said. "We had strong handle and purse increases while the industry in the first quarter of 2008 had a decline in total handle by 3.1 percent, and a decline in purses 1.5 percent. We very much appreciate the participation of our horsemen and our customers."