11/09/2013 3:51PM

Belmont Park: Handle reaches five-year high at fall meet

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Thanks to mostly ideal autumn weather that allowed for an abundance of turf racing, and the institution of the popular 50-cent Pick 5, business was brisk at Belmont Park’s 2013 fall meet, as five-year highs were set in all-sources and on-track handle, according to figures released Saturday by the New York Racing Association.

All-sources handle, including on-track wagering and simulcast outlets nationwide, was $326,878,686, the highest figure of the past five years. It was an increase of 9.8 percent from $297,670,005 last year, and 24.3 percent from $263,037,788 in 2011.

On-track handle was 47,238,016, up 11 percent from $42,499,742 last year, and 13.4 percent from $41,656,097 in 2011.

On-track attendance for the 37-day session was 126,469, a 10.7 increase from 114,294 last year.

Although the average number of betting interests dipped slightly from 8.5 to 8.4 per race, only seven of 198 scheduled turf races were taken off the turf. In 2012, only 140 turf races were run, while 40 were taken off.

“Anchored by Super Saturday and Empire Showcase Day, the Belmont fall meet was a solid success,” said NYRA CEO and President Chris Kay. By continuing to focus on enhancing the experience of guests - both on and off track - and improving the quality of racing, we will give our fans every reason to play our races more frequently, come out to the track more often, and enjoy themselves even more when they do come out. We also wish to thank the New York State Gaming Commission for allowing us to introduce at the Belmont fall meet the reduced-takeout Pick 5 wager, which is very popular with our players.”