11/28/2016 12:36PM

Handle dips at Belmont Park fall meet

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. – All-sources handle was down 7.3 percent and ontrack handle was down 6 percent at the Belmont Park fall meet, according to figures provided by the New York Racing Association.

All-sources handle for the 38-day meet that ran Sept. 11 through Oct. 30 was $297,759,466, down from the 2015 fall-meet total of $321,050,623. Ontrack handle was $37,566,563, down from $39,989,451. The all-sources total includes about $5.2 million of international handle on Belmont’s races, up about $200,000 from last fall.

Inclement weather on two of Belmont’s biggest days hurt business. Handle on the Oct. 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic card was down $3.5 million, while handle on the Oct. 22 New York Showcase Day program declined $4.55 million. The Oct. 8 Jockey Club Gold Cup card also wasn’t a pretty day, and its handle of $15 million was down $558,242 from last year.

Last year, the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland was contested during closing weekend of Belmont’s fall meet, while this year’s Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita was conducted during opening weekend of Aqueduct’s fall meet.

Average field size this fall was 7.67 horses per race, down from 8.22 during last year’s 38-day fall meet.

Belmont conducted 354 races this fall, five fewer than last fall. There were 157 races run on turf this fall, with 42 forced off the grass. Last fall, there were 156 races run on turf, with 39 moved to the main track.