01/22/2009 1:00AM

NYRA sees handle decline on year


As was the case industry wide, the New York Racing Association saw declines in handle and attendance in 2008.

According to numbers provided by NYRA, all-sources handle on NYRA races dropped 2.1 percent in 2008 to $2,489,276,587. The all-sources daily average wagering on NYRA races fell 3.7 percent from 2007 to $9,997,095. There were 249 racing days in 2008 compared with 245 in 2007.

Total ontrack handle on NYRA races in 2008 dropped 3.4 percent to $299,704,487. The daily average of $1,203,632 was down 5.1 percent from the 2007 average.

Attendance for the 249 racing days in 2008 was 1,735,717, down 5.7 percent from the 245 days in 2007. Daily average attendance in 2008 was 6,971, down 7.2 percent.

NYRA's purse payouts grew by 3.1 percent to $121,414,236 in 2008.

"Although we were off to a strong start in 2008, the slumping economy caught up with us in the second half of the year," NYRA's president and CEO, Charles Hayward, said in a press release. "However, despite the decline in handle, NYRA outperformed the industry as a whole in 2008.''

According to Equibase, nationwide wagering on Thoroughbred racing fell 7.2 percent in 2008.