User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
DRF: Saratoga meet sees decline

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

Reprinted with permission from www.DRF.com

By David Grening
Special to VegasInsider.com

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Despite running a record number of races and getting mostly stellar weather for seven weeks, overall business at the sesquicentennial Saratoga meet was flat, while ontrack business was down, according to figures compiled by Daily Racing Form.

All-sources handle for the 40-day meet was $586,685,153, down 0.2 percent from last year’s figure of $588,351,964. A drop of $4.7 million in all-sources handle on Monday’s card, compared with last year on closing day, made the difference between a negligible uptick in business and a negligible dip. There were 54 scratches Monday due to six turf races being forced to the main track.

Ontrack handle for the meet was $146,279,604, down 1.9 percent from last year’s figure of $149,127,289.

Attendance was 867,182, down 3.75 percent from last year’s total of 901,033. Monday’s attendance was 13,760, compared with 21,272 on closing day in 2012.

The New York Racing Association was not scheduled to release official figures until Tuesday.

Advertisement
Saratoga conducted 420 races, three more than last year. There were 209 races run on the turf (including nine steeplechase events), with 24 taken off, including all six Monday.

NYRA President and Chief Executive Chris Kay, presiding over his first Saratoga meet, was hesitant to analyze what the numbers mean.

“I’m not going to be able to interpret it until after the meet is over and I looked at all the data,” Kay said in a brief midafternoon visit to the press box. “You have to look at in a number of different ways in terms of ontrack handle, national handle, but also look at the kind of people that have come and the kind of impact it has on the region and its tourism. I’ll look at it from those different criteria. I won’t do it today. I’ll look at it in the future.”

Kay said his emphasis at this meet was to provide better customer service, uttering his pet phrase “enhance the guest experience” several times throughout the summer. He said he believes NYRA has made strides in that area but will look to do more next year, including attempting to engage fans and handicappers more.

“There are a lot of things I’ve seen this year where I say, ‘This is good, but we can grow beyond that for the future,’ ” Kay said. “There will be a few changes for next year.”

It remains to be seen whether the length of the meet will change. Kay said he has heard from people who want to extend it from its current 40 days, shorten it, or keep it the same. It’s another decision he said will require him to consult data.

On the track, owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, trainer Todd Pletcher, and jockey Javier Castellano dominated the proceedings.

Castellano put the finishing touches on a wildly successful meet by winning five races Monday, giving him 66 for the meet. John Velazquez was second with 46, followed by Joel Rosario, who had 41 but missed the final nine days of the meet due to injury.

For Castellano, it was his first Saratoga riding title after three consecutive runner-up finishes.

“The leading jockey title at Saratoga is special for anyone; any jockey would want to win this title,” Castellano said. “I’m very proud to participate with the best jockeys in the country.”

Castellano won 17 races for Chad Brown at this meet and six for Pletcher, including the Alabama Stakes and the Coaching Club American Oaks on Princess of Sylmar.

The Alabama and Coaching Club were two of four Grade 1 wins and 14 stakes victories overall for Pletcher, who finished the meet with 36 wins. Chad Brown was second with 24 wins, while Kiaran McLaughlin and David Jacobson tied for third with 16.

Pletcher set a personal-best for earnings at a Saratoga meet with $4.389 million.

“Top to bottom, it was maybe our most well-rounded meet,” Pletcher said. “All the horses ran well; would have loved to have topped it off with the Travers, but that one slipped away from us.”

Pletcher said winning his first Saratoga trainers’ title in 1998 was “one of those fist-pump moments, and then when you get to 10, it’s more time to reflect a little bit and kind of appreciate the entire body of work.”

The Ramseys won a Saratoga single-meet record 22 races from 95 starters, double the number of wins recorded by both Darley Stable and Drawing Away Stable and David Jacobson. The Ramseys, who won the 2008 and 2009 titles, ended the three-year reign of owner Mike Repole.

“Very happy, couldn’t be more pleased,” Ken Ramsey said. “Twenty-two – that’s a great number to hang up anyplace, especially a place like Saratoga.”

  
HEADLINES
Dempsey: At the Gate - Wednesday
News: Classic & Distaff odds posted
Horse owned by queen fails dope test
Better Lucky wins Shine Again at Saratoga
Stopchargingmaria earns win at Saratoga
Istanford wins San Clemente Handicap
Tom's Tribute wins Eddie Read Stakes
Somali Lemonade win Diana at Saratoga
Big Trouble wins Sanford at Saratoga
MORE HEADLINES
 
  HORSE RACING EXPERT
  Mike Dempsey
Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders’ Cup.
Last Year Mike had a solid Triple Crown, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.

Mike has also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby,  winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track!

Mike’s Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card.

Join Mike each day with daily picks from Aqueduct or you can get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
  HORSE RACING EXPERT
  Jerry Sessa
Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.

Jerry's is looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis.

Join Jerry everyday with daily picks from Aqueduct and Santa Anita or choose a package that contains selections from Multiple Tracks for the LOW PRICE of $14.95! Or better yet, how about 30 Days of horse racing picks with his Monthly Racing Package for ONLY $99.95!
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!