05/08/2005 11:00PM

Tampa Bay numbers up again

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Tampa Bay Downs closed its 94-day race meet on Sunday with record handle and purse numbers, the third straight year that the track has established betting records, according to figures released by the track Monday.

Average daily all-sources betting on Tampa's cards during the meet was $3,410,092, an 8 percent gain over last year's 93-day meet. Purse distribution - which can be a more accurate indicator of revenue growth than handle - averaged $144,967 a day, up 7 percent from last year. Total purses of $13,626,909 were up 8 percent during the meet.

Average attendance of 3,513 per day was up half a percent, and ontrack handle on Tampa races was up 2 percent, to $300,530 a day.

Tampa's handle gains have been attributed in part to a more extensive simulcasting network, which included the track's signal being beamed into New York City's offtrack betting parlors for the first time last year.

Tampa is one of many racetracks to have restricted the availability of its signal to rebate shops, whose customers include some of the biggest bettors in racing. Handle continued to rise despite that decision.