02/16/2017 4:00PM

Despite less racing, NYRA handle holds steady in 2016

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Despite racing eight fewer dates, the New York Racing Association in 2016 was down less than 1 percent in total handle on its races from the previous year, according to figures provided by the company on Wednesday.

A total of $2.23 billion was wagered on races from Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga, a decrease of 0.7 percent from 2015, when $2.24 billion was wagered. In 2016, NYRA conducted 229 days of racing and 1,950 races. In 2015, NYRA conducted 237 days of racing and 2,220 races.

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Average daily handle on NYRA’s races in 2016 was $9,721,951, an increase of 2.7 percent from the daily average of $9,464,301 in 2015.

Export handle on NYRA’s races was $1,875,096,155 in 2016, virtually even with the 2015 figure of $1,876,463,617.

Aiding NYRA’s export handle in 2016 was the expansion of NYRA Bets in the summer. Bettors in 24 states outside of New York were able to open advance-deposit wagering accounts starting in August, and by year’s end, bettors in 28 states were able to open ADW accounts through NYRA’s program.

NYRA’s 2016 figures were virtually on par with 2015 despite not having a Triple Crown attempt for the company’s biggest event, the Belmont Stakes. Handle on Belmont Day was down $36 million in 2016 from 2015, when American Pharoah won the Belmont to sweep the Triple Crown.