02/26/2003 1:00AM

Gulfstream handle up so far

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Gulfstream Park neared the halfway point of its 89-day meet Wednesday with a 6 percent gain in total handle and a gain of less than 1 percent in ontrack business, according to track president Scott Savin.

Attendance for the first 44 days of the meet is down 7 percent compared with corresponding days of 2002. The attendance deficit can be attributed to the lack of a turnstile-spinning concert crowd, such as the one - 29,889 strong - that saw Bryan Adams perform here early in the 2002 meet.

Though it is the policy of track owner Magna Entertainment Corp. not to release actual figures, Gulfstream is averaging $9,141,429 a day in total handle through the first 44 days, according to figures compiled by Daily Racing Form. That is up more than $1 million a day compared with 2002. Ontrack handle is averaging $1,176,189 while ontrack attendance is averaging 9,626.