01/18/2013 3:30PM

NYRA handle up across the board in 2012

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Despite a year of turmoil in its corporate offices, the New York Racing Association enjoyed a terrific year business-wise in 2012, posting significant gains in handle.

All-sources handle on NYRA’s races at its three tracks – Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga – was $2,202,719,485, a 12.4 percent increase over $1,959,931,791 in 2011. There were 245 racing days in 2012, compared with 240 in 2011.

When simulcasting is factored in, total handle was $2,496,498,959, an 11.8 percent increase over the $2,233,402,711 wagered in 2011.

Ontrack handle on only NYRA’s races was $381,114,842, an 8.3 percent increase over the $351,835,640 bet in 2011. The increase came despite a 1.5 percent decrease attendance from 1,809,865 in 2011 to 1,783,538 in 2012.

When simulcast races are factored in, NYRA’s ontrack handle was $674,894,316, a 7.9 percent increase over $625,306,557 in 2011.

According to NYRA, the handle increase on NYRA’s races was more than double the $103 million industry-wide handle increase reported by Equibase.

NYRA enjoyed significant increases on three of its biggest days. All-sources handle on Belmont Stakes Day was $98.6 million, up 19 percent from $82.8 million in 2011. This year’s Belmont received tremendous attention with I’ll Have Another scratching the day before his bid for the Triple Crown.

On Travers Day, at Saratoga, handle was $37.8 million, up 12.1 percent from the 33.7 million wagered in 2011. Jockey Club Gold Cup Day at Belmont Park saw a 19.3 percent increase in ontrack handle from the previous year.

NYRA’s business boom came despite the association in May losing its president and CEO, Charles Hayward, and chief counsel Patrick Kehoe, both of whom were fired following the revelation the association was charging a takeout rate 1 percentage point higher than allowed by law for an 15-month period.