The Spa Spot: Business good during first four days
The numbers are in for the first four days of racing at Saratoga this summer and they are all positive, especially handle, which shows double-digit gains.
Compared to 2011, on-track handle, total handle and attendance are up. The weather has been terrific, which is critical to success every year, and the New York Racing Association has dealt with the issues - falling water pressure, inconsistent Wi-Fi, an oft-silent PA system and mutuels problems - that marred opening day.
The stats announced by NYRA Monday:
- Attendance for the first week was 75,369, up 2.0 percent from 73,875 in 2011.
- On-track handle for the week totaled $12,731,605, up 14.2 percent from $11,146,737 last year.
- Wagering downstate at Belmont Café and the Aqueduct simulcast center was $2,278,248 for a combined on-track handle of $15,009,853, up 14.9 percent from $13,068,910 in 2011.
- All-sources handle, which includes wagers on Saratoga races both on-track and from simulcast outlets nationwide, was $63,688,669, up 12.3 percent from $56,688,557 last year.
- Average betting interests per race were 9.0 from a total of 368 runners, compared to 8.4 from 334 runners in 2011. The average number of betting interests increased at least in part because of the good weather. All of the scheduled 22 turf races, which often have large fields, were run. In 2011, four races were taken off the grass and 16 were held.