Week two of the 2009 meet at the Saratoga Race Course brought more good news for NYRA and the city, as attendance figures continued to eclipse last year's turnout.
The New York Racing Association on Monday, Aug. 10, said that after the first 12 days of the meet, attendance is up 4.8 percent, on-track handle is up 8.3 percent and all-sources handle is down 1.7 percent when compared to 2008's totals from the same time period.
Officials were quick to note that the all-sources handle drop is considerably better than the 13.4 percent decrease in betting industry-wide for July.
The first week of the meet faired much better when compared to last yearattendance was up 13.5 percent then. 2008's attendance was deeply impacted by poor weather at the start of the meet, however.
As of Monday, attendance was 280,843, on-track handle was $38.9 million and all-sources handle was $171.5 million.
The attendance numbers do include multiple admissions purchased by those wishing to obtain more than one giveaway item on Sunday, Aug. 2. The next giveaway is on Sunday, Aug. 16, when patrons will receive a short sleeve T-shirt while supplies last.
We remain encouraged by these solid increases in attendance and on-track handle which can be attributed to the meet's late start and, in particular, to the competitive and full fields we've witnessed during the first two weeks," said NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward in a statement.
"We anticipate another week of favorable weather and inspiring racing highlighted this Saturday by the Grade I, $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational, and, looking ahead, the Grade I, $600,000 Alabama Stakes on Aug. 22 and a spectacular field shaping up for the Grade I, $1,000,000 Shadwell Travers Stakes on Aug. 29."