07/19/2013 7:15PM

Saratoga: Attendance, handle down on opening day


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Due in large part to the heat, business for Friday’s opening-day card at Saratoga was down from 2012.

With temperatures in the mid-90s and a heat index near 100, the on-track attendance was 21,935, down 15 percent from last year’s figure of 25,676.

On-track handle was $3,338,203, down 18 percent from last year’s total of $4,075,817. All-sources handle was $15,591,240, down 7 percent from last year’s total of $16,690,234.

Despite the heat, there were few problems on opening day, with no reported incidents of horses being adversely affected by the heat.

Speaking of heat, there was a dead-heat for the win in the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes between Brazen Persuasion and Bahnah. Brazen Persuasion was ridden by Rosie Napravnik, who won two races on the card, taking the nightcap as well with Sonnyandpally.

John Velazquez, who entered the meet eight wins shy of Jerry Bailey’s record for the most victories in Saratoga history, won three races on the card, including the $100,000 On the Bus Stakes with Hessonite.

Sage Valley won the Grade 3, $100,000 James Marvin Stakes for sprinters for owner Michael Dubb and trainer Rudy Rodriguez.

“We had a terrific day of racing today that featured a little bit of everything,” said Chris Kay, president and chief executive of the New York Racing Association. “Thrilling finishes, the unveiling of a potential star, and a stakes race that was as close as it can get.”

The potential star to whom Kay was referring is Stopchargingmaria, a 2-year-old filly by Tale of the Cat who won her debut by 5 1/2 lengths for owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher.

mikey More than 1 year ago
Richard You hit the nail on the head a few times.The spa is for the big guys.Seating is hard to get and not the best.The fans can hardley blow out a candle on a birthday cake.Last year we got lucky and got a box for a few days.Temp in the 90s and they want you to wear a sport jacket.Guess the big timers dont mind the heat.Food is real expensive and not good.But it cost less than Del Mar.Would love to see the writers pay to get in and pay to park then see how much they love the place.
Richard Gottlieb More than 1 year ago
I love Saratoga. However, management does all it can to disuade me. For example, putting the portable tent in the paddock corral. For the sake of a select few, they take away the spot for hundreds (if not thousands) of fans that enjoy picnicking and viewing the horses. (By the way, for the three days this opening weekend, maybe 10 "elite" patrons used the tent). The sound system throughout the track is atrocious and has been for years. The tote board in the aformetioned paddock was out all day Friday and sporadic throughout the weekend. In years past NYRA would "chalk" off a waling lane in the paddock corrals. No more, now you have rude people invading the comfort of others. Most impotantly, LOWER THE TAKEOUT. One year in the last decade takeout was lowered to 13% on win wagers, handle flourished. In the casino, you have almost 5o--50 odds when playing correctly. Beating win payouts at 15%+ and exotics at 20% to 25% sucks the life out players. Putting more $ back in the pockets is the only answer.
Bob More than 1 year ago
It's this temperature everyday in Florida , Calder and Gulfstream. I never heard degrees mentioned. Never impacted a gambler before. Stop the temp talk.
Roger More than 1 year ago
Mid-90 temperature---no short pants allowed! Wonder why attendance is down.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Repoles next horse needs a name like SPENDMARIASPEND OR MYMARIACANSPEND.How about TODYOUGONNABREAKME.What ever the name he is a guy who puts his $$$$ in the game he loves.MARIASPENDITALL.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Joyce Johnson Groome More than 1 year ago
Oh!!! Wonderful!!! I liked Stopshoppingmaria!!!! But you couldn't come up with something better then Stopchargingmaria!!!! I guess Maria has fun spending all your money!!!! Kudos!!!! But give the poor horse a descent name will ya!!!! If I see another stop shopping anything I am outta here!!!!!
jttf More than 1 year ago
why do vets dehydrate horses on hot days ? arent humans reminded to drink fluids on hot days ? but horse doctors just rub a little water on the horses' chests before the race. their concern for the horses doesnt make any sense.
Steven Davidowitz More than 1 year ago
The easy life for DRF reporters? . . Like David Grening, or Jay Privman, or Michael Welsch or Steve Anderson, David Litfin who frequenbtly get up at 5:00-5:30AM to go to their track to begin their 12-13 hour work days, who also go to their press box to construct and write under deadline pressures their advances for races two days away (while reviewing dozens of race replays and result charts and recorded notes and historical references), yes, these same reporters who venture down to the winner's circle and jocks room two or three times a day to get post race quotes, so they can file their post race stories and/or columns or handicaps more than 48 hours in advance of their respective 10 or 11 race cards while in many cases having to field numerous calls and having to track down trainers and owners in different sections of the country to gather info on whether any one of a dozen horses nominated for stakes down the road actually will show up? Yeah those reporters who have it so easy . . .And, oh by the way, it tsakes skill to meet tough deadlines while actually putting together something that reads smoothly enough so that the readership will have some handle on what is really happening at the track they love. Make no mistake, every racing writer-reporter columnist handicapper I know considers himself or herself quite lucky to have qualified for such a job in a diminishing market for racing writers; loves their work and appreciates the opportunity they have. But, it is no easier than being a top professional in any walk of life. It takes skill, dedication, hard work and committment to get such work and to keep it. . .Frankly, readers of DRF are lucky to have Grennig and company on the job at Saratoga, (and/or Del Mar, along with many others working other tracks where similar quality reporting is provided.) Steve Davidowitz
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
"The easy life for DRF reporters?" SD, is this in response to someone with a name? To whom is it addressed? Who said they have an easy life? Also, try presenting your arguments in paragraphs that aren't the size of Texas. Who can read an oil spill?
robert bertz More than 1 year ago
I have been in the horse racing industry since 1984 as an owner and handicapper. The best thing that ever happened to Me was, in 1982 I bought a book titled "Betting Thoroughbreds". The book was Written by Steven Davidowitz. The original book was about 1/5 the size of the revised editon. In My opinion it is the best primer on betting horses ever. It tells You there are no set rules. Every race in an enitity of is own. Mr Davidowitz is a Man who need not be questioned. To Me His opinion is above reproach. Without Mr. Davidowitz' book I would not have the life I do. Thank You, Steven Davidowitz!!!!
Neil Granowitz More than 1 year ago
Steve, Can you put to rest a tale I have heard for many years? Are you originally from Bayonne, NJ and did your dad own a camera store in the same town?
mikey More than 1 year ago
We need race reporters like we need a 2 week vacation in Beruit.Reporters are nothing but bettors looking for inside info to use for betting.The post had the right idea get rid of them all.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Let me tell you, Steve, I could care less about what racing reporters have to say. If I followed even a part of what these guys post, Id never arrive at winners. That job IS easy by the way. Sling a rifle on your back and hit the sand in Iraq in August when its 140 degrees. Make sure you have your 40 pounds worth of body armor on and look out for those road-side IEDs as you patrol down the road to nowhere. At least once you get back from the long day on patrol (if you make it back), there will be a nice fresh meal of Grade "D" barely edible beef log waiting for you. BLAH! Now back to the intellectual part of the reporting. I can find grammatical errors in nearly every article posted on this site and that disaster that you posted does not help your case either.
jay More than 1 year ago
Save your anger for The Daily News or CNN. This is not the place for your ranting nonsense.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Analysis of a race horse........ "The number 3 looked a little green in the paddock". Tough job.
CHris SChott More than 1 year ago
What a life it would be if the heat was the one reason a person could cite for not attending opening day at Saratoga. It's going to be a great meet.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
good point mikey.but even if they gave you vip parking and a seat.you are better off in the comfort of your own home.