Updated on 01/17/2014 1:42PM

NYRA average handle rose 2.3 percent in 2013


The New York Racing Association posted a 2.3 percent increase in average daily total handle in 2013 when compared to 2012, the organization announced Friday.

However, due to a reduction in racing days and the lack of a Triple Crown opportunity to promote for the Belmont Stakes, total handle and attendance were down compared to 2012.

Average daily total handle at NYRA’s three tracks – Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga – was $9,198,298, up from $8,990,691 in 2012. NYRA conducted 239 racing days in 2013, compared to 245 in 2012.

Total all-sources handle on NYRA’s races in 2012 was $2,198,393,408, down slightly from $2,202,719,485 in 2012.

Total ontrack handle on NYRA races in 2013 was $367,022,646, down 3.7 percent from 2012 when $381,114,842 was wagered ontrack.

Attendance in 2013 was 1,666,396, down 6.9 percent from 1,790,803 in 2012.

A NYRA press release noted that “year-over-year totals in 2013 were negatively affected by the reduction in racing days” and the lack of a Triple Crown opportunity. In 2012, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another was entered in the Belmont Stakes, only to scratch the day before the race with an injury. Still, Belmont attendance in 2012 was up about 38,000 and total handle was $7.8 million higher in 2012 than for Belmont Stakes Day in 2013.

According to NYRA, wagering on its races accounted for more than 20 percent of all monies wagered on Thoroughbred racing in the United States in 2013.

NYRA noted that in 2013 it enjoyed increases over 2012 on several of its biggest racing days, including days when it conducted the Wood Memorial, Metropolitan Handicap, Whitney Handicap, and Cigar Mile.

Looking forward, Christopher Kay, who took over as NYRA’s CEO and president last July, said through various initiatives including the upgrading of its account-wagering network, NYRA “will build on 2013 and work toward our goals of a prosperous 2014 and a successful reprivatization in 2015.”

The headline for a previous version of this article misstated the average daily handle for the NYRA in 2013. Average daily handle increased, not declined, 2.3 percent in 2013.