Belmont reports gains in handle, attendance
Attendance, on-track handle, total handle, and NYRA Rewards account wagering all posted increases at the recently concluded 2011 Belmont Park spring/summer meet.
For the period from April 29 through July 17 compared to last year's corresponding time span, attendance was up 14.4 percent, increasing to 332,413 from 290,494; total on-track handle (including money bet on simulcast races) was up 72 percent, increasing to $141 million from $82 million; and total all-sources handle (including money bet on simulcast races) was up 1.2 percent, increasing to $579 million from $572 million. NYRA Rewards telephone wagering was up 146 percent, increasing to $13 million from $5.4 million, and NYRA Rewards internet wagering was up 231 percent, increasing to $22 million from $6.5 million.
"We are very encouraged by the results from the recently concluded Belmont Park meet," NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward said. "The large increases in attendance and on-track handle continue the strong trends that we have set since the closure of New York City Off-Track Betting, and it is an especially positive sign that our total all-sources handle increased during the Belmont meet. These indicators provide us with plenty of optimism as we get ready to open the 143rd renewal of the prestigious Saratoga Race Course meet on Friday."
For the first time, NYRA offered simulcasting at Aqueduct Racetrack during the Belmont meet. With the facility open seven days a week, customers wagered $23 million at Aqueduct during the Belmont meet. NYRA also offered dark day simulcasting at the Belmont Café at Belmont Park.
Aqueduct and the Belmont Café will be open for simulcasting during the entirety of the 2011 Saratoga meet, which runs from Friday, July 22 through Labor Day, Monday, September 5 with live racing six days a week, Wednesday through Monday.
The recently concluded Belmont meet also saw large attendance and handle gains on Belmont Stakes Day, June 11. Belmont Day attendance was up 23 percent, on-track handle was up 41 percent, and total all-sources handle on Belmont's races was up 9 percent.
At the beginning of the Belmont meet, NYRA and the MTA announced the restoration of Long Island Rail Road service to Belmont Park, offering easy and convenient access for customers in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.
Last December's closure of NYCOTB was the major contributing factor to a $60 million decrease in wagering on NYRA races from the downstate NYOTB's.
Below are the exact totals and daily averages for the 2011 Belmont Park spring/summer meeting as compared to last year:
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