09/03/2013 3:56PM

Saratoga ontrack handle down from 2012

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Ontrack handle during the 40-day Saratoga meet was down 2.1 percent compared with the meet last year and attendance dropped 3.8 percent as generally good weather could not stave off a decline, according to final meet figures released Tuesday by Saratoga’s operator, the New York Racing Association.

Total ontrack handle was $147,456,901, NYRA said, for an average of $3.69 million this year compared with an average of $3.77 million last year. Total attendance was 867,182 for an average of 21,680, compared with an average of 22,526 last year.

Saratoga marketed this year’s meet as the 150th at the track, even though the initial Saratoga meet was held at a different racetrack than the current location. The track held numerous promotions in concert with the sesquicentennial and sold merchandise with a special logo during the meet.

Total handle for the meet was down slightly, by 0.3 percent, because of a small uptick in simulcast handle on the track’s races. Total handle was $586,685,154 for an average of $14.67 million, according to the figures.

This year’s meet was generally held during favorable weather conditions, though heavy rains on the last several days resulted in the move of eight turf races to the dirt. This year, 24 races were taken off the turf, compared to 27 last year.

Average field size was 8.1 horses per race, down 3.6 percent compared to last year, when average field size was 8.4 horses, according to NYRA.