01/03/2002 12:00AM

NYRA numbers up on year


JAMAICA, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association reported gains in daily average ontrack and total handle for 2001, which was capped by a strong Aqueduct fall meet.

Daily average total handle was up 6 percent during the 257-day season to $10,747,635. Daily average ontrack increased 4 percent in 2001 to $2,055,579. Last year, 258 days were run.

Daily average attendance in 2001 was nearly even with 2000, with an average of 9,558 in 2001, compared with 9,573.

NYRA pointed to the reduction of the takeout, which began with the start of the Saratoga meet, the Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park on Oct. 27, and the balmy weather in the fall, as positive influences on business last year.

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 caused Belmont Park to miss five days of racing.

"It was a very rewarding, yet challenging year," Terry Meyocks, president of NYRA, said. "There were marked gains during the last half of the year. The reduced takeout and the terrific weather really gave us a boost."

Daily average total handle on Aqueduct's fall races rose 14 percent to $8,675,437, while daily average ontrack handle jumped 13 percent to $1,021,363. Daily average attendance (4,750) was up 2 percent over 2000.