NEW YORK, N.Y. – Recapping a record Saratoga meet and outlining continued strong financial performance throughout the current fiscal year, the New York Racing Association’s (NYRA) Reorganization Board of Directors heard a wide-ranging and comprehensive report at this afternoon’s public meeting in Midtown Manhattan. The discussion was open to the public and streamed live on NYRA.com.
Chief Executive Officer and President Christopher Kay outlined the final results for the 147th meet at Saratoga Race Course, which concluded on Monday, September 7:
- Record total NYRA handle of $656,121,664, a 14.1 percent increase over 2014. This figure shattered the previous high of $590,187,876, set in 2012. It also reflects the final addition of international exports, which had not been settled and included in the preliminary financial data released last month.
- Record on-track handle of $157,647,599, a 4.8 percent increase over 2014. This figure eclipsed the previous, on-track high of $150,637,998 in 2012.
According to Kay, NYRA recorded a 13.8 percent increase in revenue derived from dining, concessions and merchandise throughout the 2015 Saratoga meet. These strong revenue gains corresponded with an overall increase in paid attendance. Total paid attendance for the 2015 Saratoga meet was 1,065,625.
“Over the past two years, our efforts to enhance the overall experience and improve the quality of racing are clearly resonating with our horseplayers, our fans and with their families,” said Kay.
In 2015, NYRA averaged $16,403,042 in race handle on the Saratoga product, becoming the first non-Breeders’ Cup race meet in America to average more than $16 million in daily race handle on its own product. Saratoga is the only North American race meet which runs six days a week, making this achievement even more notable.
Focusing on the overall experience enjoyed by horseplayers, fans and their families at the Spa, Kay stated that capital improvements and facility enhancements at Saratoga Race Course since 2013 have supported corresponding boosts in interest, attendance and handle for the 2015 season. These additions and upgrades included:
- The Saratoga Walk of Fame, an open-air pavilion honoring owners, trainers and jockeys who have left an indelible mark on thoroughbred racing at the Spa.
- The Tom Durkin Replay Center, offering fans the opportunity to view and hear 24 classic calls by the legendary race caller, who retired in 2014 following a 24-year career as the voice of New York racing.
- A revitalized Lower Carousel and new Fourstardave Sports Bar featuring five dozen tables available for daily reservation, an extensive craft beer selection and 40 flat-screen televisions. A total of 2,214 tables were reserved in the Fourstardave Sports Bar throughout the meet, demonstrating the popularity and appeal of the new hospitality offering.
- A new, reserved picnic table section, providing families and fans added convenience throughout the 2015 meet. A total of 2,893 picnic tables were reserved this summer, which augmented the 850 free tables already available to patrons on a first-come, first-served basis daily.
- The installation of three new, high-definition video boards in the vast Saratoga backyard, providing horseplayers, families and fans with a crystal-clear platform to enjoy the on-track action.
The momentum generated by the 2015 Saratoga meet has continued downstate at Belmont Park, Kay stated. He reported that daily all-source handle for the fall meet through October 18 is currently 5.4 percent above the previous year’s figures for 28 race days. Kay stated that NYRA remains on-track to meet the 2015 budgetary goals, and achieve an operating profit for the second straight year.
The Belmont Park fall meet concludes on Sunday, November 1, with live racing shifting to Aqueduct Racetrack on Wednesday, November 4. Later that month, NYRA will officially open a new, modernized lounge for owners and trainers competing at the Big A. Located just above the paddock, the lounge will feature new amenities for horsewomen and horsemen and will be fully climate-controlled.
The next board meeting is scheduled for December 9, in New York City.