01/21/2006 1:00AM

NYRA's numbers decline in 2005

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The New York Racing Association sustained declines in attendance and handle in 2005.

Average daily ontrack handle on NYRA races was down 4.4 percent, from $1,341,620 in 2004 to $1,282,331. Total handle on NYRA races declined 4.2 percent from a daily average of $10,875,566 in 2004 to $10,414,102 in 2005.

Ontrack attendance declined 6.2 percent from a daily average of 8,216 in 2004 to 7,703 in 2005. Total ontrack attendance was 1,956,555 in 2005, down 6.6 percent from 2,095,156 in 2004. There were 254 racing dates in 2005, one less than in 2004.

Despite the declines, NYRA officials were happy with business in 2005, noting that NYRA terminated relationships with several off-shore simulcasting facilities and also suffered a decline in field size from 8.15 starters in 2004 to 7.75 last year.

"It is rewarding to see that NYRA's high quality of racing was able to sustain handle levels that are really quite impressive,'' said NYRA senior vice president Bill Nader. "To once again average over $10 million in daily handle over a 254-day season is a remarkable achievement for our racing program. It is interesting to note that the declines in handle mirrored that of field size.''