08/08/2017 12:30PM

Saratoga handle up through first 16 days of racing

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y - All-sources handle on the first 16 days of the 2017 Saratoga meet is up 5.6 percent while ontrack handle is up 2.3 percent compared to the same time period in 2016, according to figures provided by the New York Racing Association.

Through Monday, all-sources handle was $279,099,864, compared to $264,332,983 through the first 16 days of 2016. Ontrack handle was $63,463,693, compared with $62,040,659 a year ago.

There have been 162 races run this year, the same number that were run during the first 16 days of the 2016 meet. At this year’s meet, there have been 78 turf races run (including four steeplechase events), compared with 72 turf races (three steeplechase events) through the same period of 2016. So far this year, there have been seven races taken off the turf and transferred to dirt, compared with 11 last year at this time.

Field size is up this year to an average of 8.53 horses per race, compared to 8.17 last year.

All-sources handle for last Saturday’s Whitney Day card was $30,153,136, compared to $29,335,235 on Whitney Day 2016.

Attendance, or paid admissions, is 441,668, down 2.3 percent compared to 2016’s figure of 452,190 through the first 16 days.

On track, trainer Chad Brown leads Todd Pletcher 17-16 in the trainer standings. Last year at this time, Brown held an 18-14 edge over Pletcher before eventually winning his first trainer’s title with 40 wins. Pletcher was second with 31.

Jose Ortiz leads his brother Irad, 24-23, for leading jockey. Last year through the first 16 days of the meet, Irad had 28 wins, 10 more than his brother, yet Jose Ortiz ultimately won the riding title with 65 wins, eight more than his brother.

Beginning Wednesday, 24 cards remain in the meet, which runs through Sept. 4.

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