2020 Belmont Park fall meet sees 33.6 percent increase in average daily handle
by Pat McKenna
The New York Racing Association Inc., (NYRA) today announced that the Belmont Park fall meet generated $9,923,813 in average daily handle from all sources, a 33.6 percent increase over the 2019 fall meet.
Despite running 10 fewer days than in 2019, all sources handle of $267,942,961 was down just 2.5 percent compared with 2019.
The Belmont Park fall meet has traditionally opened on the Friday following Labor Day. Due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, NYRA adjusted the fall schedule by adding a one-week break following the conclusion of the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course. As a result, the 2020 fall meet was contested over 27 days compared to 37 days in 2019, a 27 percent decrease in race dates.
A total of 267 races were run during the fall meet with 148 on the main track and 118 over the grass. Average field size over those 267 races was 7.88, an 8.7 percent increase over 2019. 24 races were taken off the turf due to weather.
The October 10 Jockey Club Gold Cup Day card, which featured 5 graded stakes in total, generated all sources handle of $19,534,830, which is the highest single day handle number for a Belmont fall race date since September 2014.
The 2019 fall meet at Belmont Park generated all sources handle of $274,929,718 and average daily handle of $7,430,533. 324 races were run in total with 14 races taken off the turf due to weather. Average field size was 7.25.
Chad Brown posted 22 wins to earn the status as top trainer for the Belmont Park fall meet for the ninth consecutive year, while Jose Ortiz registered 40 victories to lead all riders.
Klaravich Stables campaigned 13 winners, six more than the second-closest competitor in Repole Stables, to pace all owners.
The fall meet was conducted without spectators and with only a limited number of essential personnel, horsemen and owners on-site due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack will begin on Friday, November 6 and continue through Sunday, December 6. Highlighted by the 32nd renewal of the of the Grade 1, $250,000 Cigar Mile on Saturday, December 5, the 18-day fall meet at Aqueduct features 29 stakes, including 11 graded events, worth $3.41 in purses.
Opening weekend of the Big A fall meet, which coincides with the Breeders' Cup set for November 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course, begins with the $100,000 Tempted for juvenile fillies and $100,000 Atlantic Beach for juvenile turf sprinters on November 6.
Following opening weekend, live racing will be conducted Thursday through Sunday with the exception of Thanksgiving Week, when live racing will not be offered on Thanksgiving Day, November 26.
New York state currently requires all racetracks to operate without spectators in attendance to combat the spread of COVID-19. As was the case during the Belmont Park fall meet, a limited number of New York State Gaming Commission-licensed owners will be permitted at Aqueduct on the day their horse is entered to race.
America's Day at the Races will present daily television coverage of the Aqueduct fall meet with coverage to air on FOX Sports and MSG Networks.
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the 18-day fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, NYRA Bets is currently offering a $200 new member bonus in addition to a host of special weekly offers. The NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
For more information, visit NYRA.com.