08/06/2013 2:27PM

Saratoga all-sources handle gives back gains, now even with last year

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Though ontrack business picked up some last week – thanks to mostly gorgeous weather and a successful Whitney Day – handle and attendance remain down through the first 16 days of this year’s Saratoga meet compared to 2012, according to figures compiled by Daily Racing Form .

All-sources handle, which had been up 2.8 percent following the first 10 days of the meet, is now flat, or down 0.2 percent compared to last year. A total of $232,737,975 has been wagered at Saratoga compared with $233,343,246 wagered last year.

Ontrack handle is $46,034,119, down 4.5 percent compared to $48,208,876 wagered last year.

Attendance is 310,318, down 3 percent compared to 319,806 last year.

This, despite an excellent Whitney Day business-wise when attendance was 33,148, up 7 percent from 2012, and all-sources handle was $25,558,044, up 2 percent over last year. Sunday, saw a 22-percent increase in attendance and 4-percent increase in all-sources handle over 2012.

Through 16 days, there have been 166 races run, the same as last year. There have been 86 races run on turf and only two taken off the turf at this meet compared to 75 run on turf and 12 taken off through the same time period last year.

There have been 1,394 betting interests this year, compared with 1,413 last year.

Last year at this time, Todd Pletcher held a 16-13 lead over Chad Brown for leading trainer. Through Monday, Pletcher led Brown 16-11.

Last year at this time, Ramon Dominguez had 26 wins en route to setting a single-meet record 68. Joel Rosario leads the standing with 25 wins. Javier Castellano is in second with 22 wins, five more than he had at this point last year.

Karen Carey More than 1 year ago
Clearly the reason for the lower attendance as some were waiting for the Official 150 year Birthday of Saratoga to start in August and the heat of opening weekend was oppressive. Since the kickoff the track, town and area is bustling like I have never seen. Saratoga is one of the most beautiful tracks in the world and there is none more beautiful than she. The quality is better than ever and the racing is fantastic. .
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Handle and attendance for this industry have trended DOWN year after year after year.....why keep pretending?
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Quality of what? endless parade of dirt sprint races!!
mikey More than 1 year ago
Or cheap NY breds running for more than the whole field is worth.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Tee shirts, hats, umbrellas or glasses is what they want not 20,000 beaten races.
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
We've also have already had the wettest June-July-August on record, and that happened last Thursday (August 1)! We still have three and a half weeks to add to that record. There was a lot of flooding earlier this summer that may have played into the handle issues. Also, this may be an aftereffect of Sandy, as many people are STILL in need of help and are otherwise struggling to rebuild (notable at the shore as Haskell Day only drew 36,000 to Monmouth, that race's smallest crowd in years). The effects of Sandy were devastating to many communities as can still be seen (business on the Jersey Shore is also down considerably from last summer) and it also has affected mass transit in New York City with the Montauge Street Subway Tunnel (a link between Manhattan and Brooklyn) having been shut down this past weekend for repairs that are expected to take until around the time of the 2014 Breeders' Cup almost 15 months from now. The continued aftereffects of Sandy coupled with an extreme period of heat and humidity and one of the wettest summers on record likely is why attendance and handle are down.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
This industry is NOT attracting new fans and betters. It's customer base continue to erode year after year. The reason being is this industry is invisible to MAINSTREAM media. The only time this industry is on the mainstream media is when there is something negative like drugs and death of horses in the racetrack or ex-racehorses getting mistreated. Yes some of it are bs but what exactly has this industry done to counter those bad perception and increase it's popularity?
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
Michael (this is a response to a post on a DRF article for those seeing this elsewhere): Saratoga and Del Mar do get a lot of positive press. The BIG problem this year is the FACT that in the east, there are MANY people STILL struggling just to get back to normal following Sandy, whose effects are STILL being felt more than nine months after that storm hit the Sunday and Monday before the Breeders' Cup last October. People in many cases were out of their homes for MONTHS (in some cases only getting back into them a couple of months ago, if at all) and in other cases are either STILL not back in their homes or are, but still have considerable work to do. Even if people didn't have to leave their homes, in many cases, they have had to out of their own pocket have necessary work done (or in some cases, do it themselves) pay to make their homes habitable (it was expected in the Rockaways in particular that some would need at least a full year to do this, as for many this was a considerable expense). As a result, people in many cases still do not have disposable income for other things, and it's NOT limited to Saratoga and Monmouth. Business on the Jersey Shore in particular is down considerably from past seasons (wuth many businesses that were damaged by Sandy struggling just to make it through this year), most likely in part because of people having to divert money they otherwise would use for leisure like going to the shore or Saratoga or Monmouth to paying for repairs to their homes and replacing in many cases BASIC items that were lost or severely damaged by Sandy. People outside the northeast seem not to realize how much of a struggle it still is for many who were affected by Sandy even though that storm hit more than three-quarters of a year ago. That seems to have shown up in the numbers for Saratoga, but not nearly as much as it has shown for other areas of leisure.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
This industry is just not getting the publicity and media hype it desperately needs to recruit new fans to the racetrack and and in turn become customers as bettors. The only race the mainstream public hears about is the Kentucky Derby.
mikey More than 1 year ago
The quality is a bit weaker every year.I guess people are tired of paying the high food prices, parking, ,racingform,program, seats and after all of this you still have to pay to get in.Go a few miles to the harness track and park free get in free the food is half the price bet tracks all over the country and it is air conditioned.Or better yet stay home and bet on line.
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
Probably more the aftereffects of Sandy coupled with the wettest summer on record (and that is with almost a month left in this summer) contributed to the drop in handle. It's not just Saratoga, many areas that traditionally do well in summer have seen drops this year as many people are still struggling to return to normal following Sandy last fall.