Monday, August 18, 2008
SARATOGA WEEK 4 NUMBERS; UPDATED, 6:30 P.M.
ROUGH WEATHER LEADS TO SHORT FIELDS AND LOWER HANDLE, BUT STRONG WEEKEND POINTS TO BIG FINISH FOR SARATOGA 2008
Nearly four weeks of continuous rain causing a drastic reduction of turf races and a steep decline in betting interests have resulted in a nearly identical drop in on-track handle, but improving weather bodes well for a strong final two weeks of the 140th Spa meeting, according to the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA). Daily average on-track handle has declined at a rate (8.3 percent) only slightly greater than the decline in betting interests (6.9 percent).
Although seven more races have been run at Saratoga this year through Week Four (235 compared to 228 in 2007), betting interests are down 6.3 percent (1,839 in 2008 compared to 1,963 in 2007). Excluding the two races run prior to the August 8th cancellation, there have been 1,827 betting interests, a 6.9 percent decline from 2007. Turf races are down 32.4 percent from 2007, severely reducing total betting interests since off-the-turf races trigger numerous scratches. Only 73 turf races (including four steeplechases) have been run so far in 2008, down from 108 (including four steeplechases) in 2007, with 35 races taken off the turf, compared to only two in 2007.
Daily average attendance through Week Four is down 12.7 percent, daily average on-track handle declined 8.3 percent, and daily average all-sources handle is off 10.0 percent compared to 2007 figures.
· Daily average attendance for the first 23 days of the 2008 meet was 24,700, down from 28,292 for 24 days in 2007, with totals of 581,021 in 2008 compared to 679,014 in 2007. (*See NOTE on attendance below.)
· Daily average on-track handle at Saratoga was $3,111,194, down from $3,392,462 in 2007, with totals of $72,023,157 in 2008 compared to $81,419,079 in 2007.
· Daily average all-sources handle was $13,961,162 down from $15,510,984 in 2007, with totals of $322,989,247 in 2008 compared to $372,263,608 in 2007.
“Attendance and on-track wagering at Saratoga clearly have been hurt by the weather, but our fans turned out in big numbers under sunny skies this past weekend,” said NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward. “This week’s forecast looks good and we’re very optimistic leading up to a 12-race card on Saturday with large competitive fields coming together for the Travers presented by Shadwell Farm and three other graded stakes, including the NetJets King’s Bishop.”
· NOTE: Attendance figures for Giveaway Days include patrons who pay multiple admissions to obtain more than one giveaway item, either at the track entrance or at the multiple admissions area inside the track.
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