07/26/2007 11:00PM

Belmont business rises


The New York Racing Association reported increases in handle and attendance at the recently concluded Belmont Park spring-summer meeting.

Daily average ontrack handle, including wagering on simulcast races, rose 4.3 percent to $1,653,672 from $1,585,901 during the 59-day meet. Total handle increased 3.6 percent to a daily average of $11,971,928 from $11,555,959.

Despite a poorly attended Belmont Stakes - the crowd was only 46,870 compared with 61,168 in 2006 - overall attendance was up nearly 8 percent to 380,531 from 377,570. The daily average was 6,450.

"We had a monster June," said NYRA's president, Charlie Hayward. "Ontrack handle was up 11 percent. Our all-source handle was up 5.3 percent. It was driven largely by a lot more turf racing."

Belmont conducted 253 turf races at the meet, compared with 180 in 2006. Field size for the Belmont meet was up slightly, to 7.95 from 7.77.