07/20/2011 12:30PM

Belmont Park's ontrack handle jumps

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The New York Racing Association enjoyed significant increases in ontrack business during the 55-day Belmont Park spring/summer meet that ended Sunday.

Ontrack handle on NYRA and simulcast races during the Belmont Park meet was $140,769,767, a 72-percent increase over the 2010 figure of $81,866,005 for 57 racing days. That figure includes $23,372,381 wagered on NYRA and simulcast races at Aqueduct between April 29-July 17 and included dark-day simulcast figures. With the closure of New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. last December, Aqueduct was open for the first time to take wagering on Belmont’s races. Both Aqueduct and Belmont were open seven days a week.

Ontrack attendance during the 55-day Belmont meet was 332,413, up 14.4 percent from last year’s figure of 290,494.

Total handle bet at Aqueduct and Belmont during the period of April 29-July 17 was $578,534,100, a 1.2 percent increase from last year’s figure of $571,715,144.

Overall, handle on NYRA live races declined 5.7 percent, to $515,083,504.

“We are very encouraged by the results from the recently concluded Belmont Park meet,” said NYRA’s president and CEO, Charles Hayward. “The large increases in attendance and ontrack handle continue the strong trends that we have set since the closure of New York City Off-Track Betting . . . .”