01/10/2007 1:00AM

NYRA handle up in 2006


The New York Racing Association reported modest increases in ontrack and all-sources handle at Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga in 2006 while attendance dropped slightly.

Ontrack handle on live races at NYRA's three tracks increased 2.2 percent, from a daily average of $1,648,840 in 2005 to $1,684,699 in 2006, while all-sources handle was up 2.3 percent, from a daily average of $10,107,009 to $10,337,080.

The 2005 wagering and attendance figures do not include Breeders' Cup Day to provide a more accurate depiction of business. Not including the Breeders' Cup, there were 253 racing days in 2005, compared with 248 in 2006.

Ontrack attendance dropped 2.9 percent, from a daily average of 7,753 in 2005 to 7,525 last year.

"Even at Aqueduct we've been able to finish up with handle gains in the fall," said Bill Nader, senior vice president and chief operating officer for NYRA. "We've been, I think, consistent and successful."

Aqueduct's fall meet, which comprised 42 days from Oct. 25 to Dec. 31, experienced a 3.9 percent increase in ontrack handle, from $1,080,969 to $1,122,775 in 2006. All-sources handle improved less than a quarter of a percent, from $8,174,615 to $8,193,818. Attendance dropped 7.1 percent, from 3,012 to 2,799.