08/12/2014 11:38AM

Ontrack business up at Saratoga; all-sources handle down

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Just past the halfway point of the 2014 Saratoga meet, ontrack business is strong, while all-sources handle is down compared with the same period last year.

After 22 days of racing, ontrack handle on Saratoga’s races is $77,598,764, a 2.2 percent increase over the $75,874,209 wagered ontrack through the same period last summer.

All-sources handle, however, is $297,695,784, down 4.9 percent compared with $313,233,276 wagered through the first 22 days last year.

Saratoga has conducted 222 races this year, compared with 228 at this point in 2013. Of those 222 races, 101 have been run on turf – including six steeplechase races – with 15 having been taken off the turf. Last year at this point, 115 races had been run on turf – four of which were steeplechase events – with only eight having been taken off the turf.

Reported attendance at Saratoga is 512,719, a 13.9 percent increase over last year’s figure of 450,009 through 22 cards. This year, the New York Racing Association is not counting spinners – those who pay more than one admission price for multiple giveaway items – in its attendance but is counting approximately 6,400 season passes whether those pass holders attend the races or not.

Saratoga has held three of its four scheduled giveaways so far – the next one is not scheduled until Aug. 31. Last year, Saratoga held two giveaways at this point in the meet.

Saratoga’s 40-day meet runs through Sept. 1.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the four and five horse fields with the uncoupled entries are killing racing. Are everyone here just for the trainers?
mikey More than 1 year ago
N.Y. breds is the reason.Keep that junk at finger lakes.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Why do some tracks like Gulfstream , Calder , etc.... Not take attendance ? Likely because it's the money that counts not the head count. People are spending and losing at simulcast races and don't want to wait the 30 minutes between races at the track they visit. Degenerates yes but that's who keep the sport going. Too many choices today. You look up at the at TV and see 6 or more tracks you can bet on.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
Very simple solution. Lower the takeout and the handle will go up. Let the horse players keep more of their money. Horse players will still continue to bet the horse races. So, for sure, if you lower the takeout you will MAKE more money.... which I believe is the goal as well. Have courage and do it. No question, the handle will soar.
James Eccles More than 1 year ago
Attendance is irrelevant, as NYRA makes clear with this dubious method of counting noses. On one hand they say that by not counting the spinners who got multiple trinkets they have an accurate measure of who's there, and then they turn around and count season passes used or unused. Since they scan the cards upon entry they know perfectly well everyday how many are there, so this is just smoke and mirrors. Count the money. That's all that matters anyway but a little honesty would have been nice. This comes from someone who will be there for about 10-12 days but will count as 40.
Ken Wiener More than 1 year ago
A very reasonable comment re counting attendance!
Connor More than 1 year ago
At least people are going to the track. That's a plus.
Boyd Cord More than 1 year ago
Great indicator for the country's mood
jon g More than 1 year ago
Saratoga...the house of chalk. Another awful meet for price players
Boyd Cord More than 1 year ago
dude , yes on win bets you can make more money at the little tracks. but it's harder to be correct when the 10-1 shot has a 7% Jockey/trainer and his last 3 races he was no better than 8th, 10 lengths off the lead. I'd rather take a 5-1 at Saratoga with Javier Castellano/Johnny V riding. . As they have they best Jockey Agents in the country
Richard Land More than 1 year ago
The only number that really matters has to do with market share. What percentage of all dollars wagered nationwide is wagered on Saratoga racing? Is this higher or lower than last year?
Robert More than 1 year ago
Crowds on track are smaller. I can tell by where I have to park. I go at 2:00PM and can park closer than in previous years. Can't rely on on-track attendance as they are cooked with the passes being counted. The true number to look at is wagering per head which I believe is down from last year which reflects phantom passes in the numbers which obviously aren't betting.
Tom Callahan More than 1 year ago
A few points. Having been at the Spa this season, i can vouch that the crowds are indeed larger than last year. So the larger ontrack handle makes sense. The lower all sources is a bit of a mystery. Although i suspect the perponderance of baby races take in less money than other races. Lastly, the demise of the Daily News racing section is, I believe, a blow to the meet. Working in NYC, I have forever seen people reading the racing section and even following their annual Battle of Saratoga. NYRA would be well served to go after a Saratoga sponsored page with teh News and/or Post -- it keeps the product in the public eye.