The uncooperative weather was punctuated by a deluge which washed out part of the main track and forced the cancellation of eight races on Friday, August 8th.
(NOTE: Daily averages are based on 17 racing days through Monday of Week Three (August 11), and exclude Friday’s announced attendance and handle, compared to 18 racing days in 2007. Totals include Friday’s partial card.)
· Daily average attendance for the first 17 days of the 2008 meet was 23,099, down from 27,793 for 18 days in 2007, with totals of 405,616 in 2008 compared to 500,280 in 2007. (*See NOTE on attendance below.)
· Daily average on-track handle at Saratoga was $3,001,246, down from $3,305,841 in 2007, with totals of $51,486,871 in 2008 compared to $59,505,142 in 2007.
· Daily average all-sources handle was $14,151,191, down from $15,513,718 in 2007, with totals of $242,452,767 in 2008 compared to $279,246,932 in 2007.
A total of 176 races were run at Saratoga through the meet’s third week (including the two races run on Friday, August 8th prior to the cancellation) compared to 172 in 2007, but total betting interests and turf races have been decimated. Through Sunday, there were 1,392 betting interests, down from 1,499 in 2007, a 7.1 percent decline. (Excluding Friday’s two races run prior to the cancellation, with 12 betting interests, there were 1,380 betting interests, a 7.9 percent decline from 2007.) Meanwhile, 56 turf races (which includes three steeplechases), down from 76 turf races (including three steeplechases) in 2007, a decline of 26.3 percent. Only two races were taken off the turf through the first three weeks of 2007, compared to 24 off the turf so far this meet.
“Although the forecast calls for more unsettled conditions through Thursday, the weekend looks promising,” said NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward. “As we move into the second half of the meet, Saturday’s Grade 1 Alabama and Sword Dancer are both coming up strong, we’re expecting a full field for the Travers presented by Shadwell Farm, and the last weekend will feature 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin in the Woodward and a very strong field in the Three Chimneys Hopeful.”
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.