05/12/2003 12:00AM

Aqueduct numbers down


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Total handle, ontrack handle, and ontrack attendance were all down during the 83-day winter-spring Aqueduct meet, which concluded May 4.

The daily average total handle, which included simulcasting, averaged $9,076,903 in 2003, down 1.7 percent from 2002. Daily average total handle on only Aqueduct races was down 2.1 percent, from $8,607,384 to $8,428,854. Daily average total ontrack handle (including simulcasts) was off 4.8 percent, from $1,574,086 in 2002 to $1,497,917 in 2003. The daily average handle on only Aqueduct races declined 10.1 percent, from $945,030 in 2002 to $849,868 in 2003.

Daily average attendance was off 9.4 percent, to 4,763 from 5,256 in 2002.

"It was a long hard winter, and that had a serious effect on our meet,'' said Terry Meyocks, president and CEO of the New York Racing Association, which operates Aqueduct. "That is beyond our control. We lost five days of racing compared to one over the comparable period last year. Taking that into consideration, our overall numbers were very good."

Meyocks said that business at Aqueduct was up 11 of the final 14 days of the meet, "and we hope to build on that at Belmont," he said. "And, hopefully, Mother Nature will cooperate."