NYRA Reports Improved Handle at Belmont Meet

by | 08.05.2014 | 7:52am

Reflecting the continued progress made towards improving the quality of racing and enhancing the customer experience, statistics released by The New York Racing Association today reflect the continued growth of the spring/summer Belmont Meet.

Despite running two fewer days, total and on-track year-over-year handle and attendance increased at the 2014 Belmont Park spring/summer meet, which ran 54 days from May 1 through July 13.  All-sources handle on NYRA races was $592 million, up 4 percent from $569.6 million in 2013. On-track handle* on NYRA races was $84.6 million, up 8 percent from $78.5 million in 2013.

“Our collective focus towards improving the quality of racing and enhancing the guest experience are reflected in the strong performance of the recent Belmont Meet,” said Christopher K. Kay, President and CEO of The New York Racing Association.  “This year, we revamped our racing schedule to include not one, but two 'must see' race days with the addition of the Star & Stripes Festival, and we also debuted new capital improvements designed to further elevate the experience for horseplayers and families alike at Belmont.  The results of this effort are clearly encouraging, and continue to grow the strong momentum generated over the past year.”

Attendance at Belmont Park for the spring/summer meet was up 7 percent this year, growing from 302,512 from 282,488 in 2013.  For the 54 days of the meet, there were 509 races run this year compared to 542 for 56 days in 2013.

Average betting interests per race were 7.5 (3,828 total) in 2014 compared to 7.8 (4,213 total) in 2013. Turf races were 210 with 39 taken off the turf, compared to 234 with 48 taken off the turf in 2013.

In addition to this year's Belmont Stakes Day which set records for handle and featured a revamped, enhanced race card featuring 10 graded stakes races with $8 million in purses, The New York Racing Association also debuted a second, “must-see” event over the 4th of July weekend – the Stars & Stripes. With a $3.25 million purse and five stakes races, this festival featured an enhanced racing card, in addition to family-friendly activities and a food truck showcase.  Belmont attendance for those three days rose 33%, and total handle rose 18% over last year.

Belmont guests were able to enjoy a wide array of new improvements during the spring/summer meet.  This included:

Installation of new HD televisions across the property
Installation of new video display boards in the Paddock
Installation of Trakus technology for horseplayers
Enhancements to Belmont Café
Expansion of the Top of the Stretch Picnic Area

Additionally, horseplayers throughout the Belmont Meet were also able to visit Longshots, a new, state-of-the-art simulcasting center and sports bar which opened in April on the second floor of Aqueduct Racetrack. With more than 270 individual handicapping carrels and 55 self-service betting terminals located across four separate seating areas, Longshots affords horseplayers the opportunity to watch races on one of more than 400 large-screen televisions or personal seat monitors.

Below are the totals for the 2014 Belmont Park spring/summer meeting compared to 2013:

Racing Days
54 in 2014, 56 in 2013

Belmont Park Attendance
Up 7.1 percent (302,512 vs. 282,488)

Aqueduct Attendance
Up .4 percent (127,531 vs. 126,974)

On-Track Handle* (including simulcast races)
Up 1 percent ($150,038,884 vs. $148,438,004)

On-Track Handle* (just NYRA races)
Up 8 percent ($84,626,885 vs. $78,472,865)

Total Handle (just NYRA races)
Up 4 percent ($591,988,055 vs. $569,604,236)

NYRA Rewards Wagering
Phone down 23 percent ($11,584,568 vs. $15,007,849)
Internet up 10 percent ($32,659,312 vs. $29,633,033)

Aqueduct Wagering
Up 2 percent ($38,124,471 vs. $37,385,576)

* Please note that NYRA on-track wagering numbers include handle wagered on-track at Belmont Park, through NYRA Rewards account wagering, and at Aqueduct's Longshots simulcast center.

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