08/04/2014 4:01PM

Belmont Park meet posts gains in handle, attendance

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Buoyed by a successful Belmont Stakes Day card, all-sources handle was up 4 percent, while ontrack handle was up 8 percent, at the Belmont Park spring/summer meet, according to figures released Monday by the New York Racing Association.

All-sources handle on Belmont’s races for the 54-day meet was $592 million, up from the $569.6 million in 2013, when 56 cards were run. Ontrack handle was $84,626,885, compared with $78,472,865 in 2013.

Attendance at Belmont Park for the spring/summer meet was 302,512, up 7 percent from 282,488 in 2013.

Belmont carded 509 races this meet, compared with 542 races last year. Average betting interests per race were 7.5 (3,828 total) in 2014, compared with 7.8 (4,213 total) in 2013. There were 210 turf races run, with 39 taken off the grass, compared with 234, with 48 taken off the turf, in 2013.

A large part of the increases was due to record business on the Belmont Stakes program, which in addition to featuring a Triple Crown attempt by California Chrome, included 10 stakes races on a fabulous card. All-sources handle on Belmont Day was $150.2 million, while ontrack handle was $19.1 million. Attendance for the day was 102,199, the third-highest reported attendance on a Belmont Day.

"This year, we revamped our racing schedule to include not one but two 'must-see' race days with the addition of the Stars & Stripes Festival, and we also debuted new capital improvements designed to further elevate the experience for horseplayers and families alike at Belmont,” NYRA president and chief executive Chris Kay said in a press release. “The results of this effort are clearly encouraging and continue to grow the strong momentum generated over the past year."