11/03/2003 1:00AM

Belmont business down


Business at Belmont Park's 38-day fall meet, which concluded on Oct. 26, was down across the board.

Daily average total handle, including incoming simulcasting, was down 4.5 percent, from last year's $11,106,494 to $10,606,675. Daily average attendance dropped 3.1 percent, from 6,122 during the 33-day meet in 2002 to 5,930 this year.

Total wagering on New York Racing Association races dropped 5 percent, from $10,606,675 to $10,149,324. Ontrack wagering fell 10.6 percent, from $1,711,271 to $1,530,721. Ontrack wagering on NYRA races was down 20 percent, from $1,291,008 to $1,073,371.

"The last two weeks of the extended fall meet were unseasonably cold, and the Belmont facility does not handle cold weather well," said Bill Nader, senior vice president of NYRA. "As a result, turf racing was limited. With a shortened live card on Breeders' Cup Day, which is normally simulcast to Aqueduct, we were sure to be impacted on business on NYRA races.

"We also anticipated a negative impact because of the introduction of unlimited simulcasting at OTB's throughout the state," Nader added. "This is the first full downstate meet conducted since the expansion of simulcasting went into effect. Unfortunately, this will be a continuing trend for the next six months at Aqueduct.

"Even considering those factors, it was simply not a good meet from a business perspective."

Total wagering from all sources was $403,053,633, up from last year's $366,514,300. Total wagering on NYRA races rose from $352,645,628 to $385,674,330.

Ontrack wagering from all sources reached $58,167,413, compared to $56,471,940 in 2002. Ontrack wagering on NYRA races was $40,788,110, compared to $42,063,268 in 2002.