11/10/2011 4:05PM

Belmont business drops at fall meet

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Business was off sharply at Belmont’s fall meet, as all-sources handle fell from $293,163,373 in 2010 to $263,037,788, a decrease of 10.3 percent. Over 35 full cards and one abbreviated card, the daily average handle was $7,306, 605.

Mother Nature was partly to blame, as more turf races were lost to inclement weather – including snow – than last year. There were 123 turf races, compared with 134 turf races at last year’s 35-day fall meet. This helps to explain a 2-percent drop in total betting interests: 2,756 this year, compared with 2,812 in 2010. The average number of betting interests per race dropped to 8.25, down from 8.47 in 2010.

This year’s meet was scheduled for 37 days, but just more than 35 days of racing actually took place. A total of 16 races were lost because of a rare October snowstorm on the final weekend, with the Oct. 29 program halted after three races and Sunday, Oct. 30, canceled altogether. All told, 334 races were run, up two from last year.

On a brighter note, with the closing of New York City Off-Track Betting, the ontrack wagering total of $41,656,097 represented a 45.4 percent increase from last year’s $28,656,204. Ontrack attendance increased 4.6 percent to 133,369, up from 127,540 a year ago.