10/31/2017 1:23PM

Fine weather leads to more betting, bigger fields during Belmont fall meet


Blessed by fabulous weather - until closing day, that is - the 2017 Belmont Park fall meet enjoyed gains in all-sources handle compared to the 2016 Belmont fall season.

All-sources handle for the 35-day Belmont fall meet was $303,405,927, a 3.6 percent increase over the 2016 figure of $292,799,814, when the Belmont fall meet was 38 days long. This year’s fall meet was scheduled for 36 days, but Sunday’s closing-day card was cancelled due to wind and rain.

That was about the only bad weather experienced at the Belmont fall meet as NYRA was able to run 181 turf races and took only five off the turf. In 2016, there were 157 turf races run with 42 moved from the turf to the dirt. In total, there were 329 races run this year, down from 354 in 2016.

The ability to run so many turf races helped increase field size in 2017. Average field size was 8.24 (8.98 on turf) compared to 7.67 in 2017 (8.51 on turf).

Ontrack handle at Belmont was $37,259,201, basically flat with last year’s figure of $37,566,564.