SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Despite losing a Saturday card due to heat and the majority of another card due to rain, all-sources handle for the first half of the 2019 Saratoga meet is up over the first half of last year’s meet, according to figures provided by the New York Racing Association on Thursday.
All-sources handle was $320,684,715 on 193 races conducted over 19 race cards from July 11 through Wednesday. That figure is up 2.3 percent over the $313,518,382 handled on 199 races run from July 20 through Aug. 11 last year.
Ontrack handle was $63,746,219, down 11.8 percent compared to $72,251,356 handled through the first half of last year’s Saratoga meet.
Average daily handle at this year’s halfway point was $16,878,143, up 7.7 percent from last year’s first-half figure of $15,675,919.
This year, the Saturday, July 20 card was canceled due to extreme heat, and the final seven races carded on July 25 were canceled due to poor track conditions. In 2018, the final two races of the Whitney program on Aug. 4 were lost due to poor weather conditions.
The 2019 Saratoga meet started July 11 this year to accommodate a five-day race-week schedule, compared to a six-day schedule that had been in place for decades.
There were 85 turf races run during the first half of this meet, with 20 races taken off the turf and an additional four turf races canceled. Though the first half of last year’s meet, there were 74 turf races run with 27 taken off and three canceled.
Average field size through Wednesday was 7.98 horses per race, up 4.9 percent from last year’s 7.61 horses per race.
This story was originally published on DRF.com.