07/26/2001 11:00PM

Overall Belmont handle rises

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Total handle increased while ontrack attendance decreased during the recently concluded Belmont spring/summer meeting. Ontrack handle was unchanged compared with last year.

Total handle for the 55-day meeting was $607,864,143, a 5 percent increase over last year's $581,280,354. The average daily handle in 2001 was $11,052,075.

Attendance for the 2001 meet was 441,392, down 6 percent from last year, when 469,048 attended the 55-day meeting.

"In all I think we had a solid Belmont meet," said Terry Meyocks, president and COO of the New York Racing Association. "Things seem to be in line with what other tracks are experiencing."

The highlight of the meet was the Belmont Stakes, which drew a crowd of 73,857, the largest Belmont Stakes crowd when a Triple Crown was not at stake and the fourth-largest crowd in track history. Ontrack handle that day was an all-time Belmont record of $10,581,093.

"We continue to be pleased with the new levels that Belmont Stakes day seems to reach every year now," Meyocks said. "We aren't yet where we want to get to, but we have made a great deal of progress."