01/18/2008 1:00AM

NYRA's ontrack handle up


The New York Racing Association showed modest gains in ontrack handle in 2007 while posting negligible declines in overall handle and ontrack attendance, according to figures released on Friday.

Ontrack handle on NYRA races only last year was $310,571,112, a 2.8 percent increase over the 2006 figure of $302,133,927.

All-sources handle, including on simulcasts, declined 1.1 percent from $2,573,199,047 to $2,545,030,210. Attendance at Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga dropped 0.9 percent to 1,824,652. There were four fewer racing days in 2007 (244) than in 2006 (248).

Purses distributed by NYRA increased 6.9 percent, from $110,170,855 to $117,814,278.

"After a slow start at Aqueduct, 2007 was a very good year at NYRA," said Charles Hayward, NYRA's president and CEO. "We had a solid increase in ontrack handle, led by a record-breaking $123 million bet ontrack for the Saratoga meet."

Business for Aqueduct's fall/winter meet that ran from Oct. 24 to Dec. 30 was down. Ontrack handle dropped 2.3 percent from $27,508,331 to $26,876,579. Attendance fell by 4.9 percent from 120,602 to 114,601.