07/25/2011 5:45PM

Saratoga business figures for first four days up from 2010


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Despite bad weather resulting in bad business on Monday, Saratoga enjoyed increases in attendance and handle for the first four days of the 143rd meet when compared to the first four days last year.

Total attendance was 73,875, up 2 percent from 72,452 in 2010. This despite rainy weather on Monday keeping the crowd to 7,839, believed to be the smallest Saratoga crowd since Aug. 31, 2005 when 7,700 showed up.

Ontrack handle for the first four days totaled $11,146,736, up 10.6 percent from $10,082,862 last year. Monday’s ontrack handle was only $1,119,570, compared with $1,445,295 last year. Four of Monday’s five turf races were moved to the dirt due to rain, resulting in a plethora of scratches.

All-sources handle, which includes wagers on Saratoga from both ontrack and simulcast outlets nationwide, was $56,688,549, up 10.4 percent from $51,337,748 in 2010. Business was definitely helped last Friday and Saturday by so many Eastern tracks canceling due to hot weather. On Saturday, all-sources handle at Saratoga exceeded $20 million.

Total betting interests were 334, two more than the corresponding four days last year.

“It was a terrific opening week at Saratoga,” said NYRA president and CEO Charles Hayward. “In addition to continuing the positive attendance and handle trends that we experienced at Aqueduct and Belmont Park, our all-sources handle also increased double digits. That is a very encouraging indicator considering the closure of New York City Off-Track Betting last December. Our customers responded very well to the great racing programs put together by NYRA vice president and director of racing P.J. Campo.”