The racing season at Saratoga is over. And while no fans were allowed on the historic grounds at the racetrack, that did not deter those that still wanted to Wager on the races.
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) successfully concluded its 2020 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course without interruption and with all-sources handle topping $700 million dollars for the second consecutive year.
The meet was conducted without spectators and only a limited number of essential personnel, horsemen, media and owners were allowed on-site due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All-sources handle for the 2020 summer meet totaled $702,535,468 compared to $705,343,949 Wagered from all sources on Saratoga in 2019.
Average daily handle for the 40-day meet was $17,563,387. The 2019 meet, which was run across 39 days due to the cancellation of a full card due to weather, generated average daily handle of $18,085,742.
Said NYRA President & CEO Dave O’Rourke: “While the 2020 Saratoga meet was a success in many ways, it will most be remembered for the absence of our passionate fans and the irreplaceable energy that they bring to Saratoga each summer. Despite not being able to attend in person, horseplayers watched and wagered with tremendous enthusiasm, and we thank them for their continued support.”
A total of 409 races were run this summer including 226 on dirt and 183 on the turf. 32 races were taken off the turf due to weather. Average field size over the 409 races was 7.4.
This compares to 403 total races run in 2019, including 225 on dirt and 178 on turf. 38 races were taken off the turf due to weather. Average field size in 2019 was 7.9.
Klaravich Stables was the meet’s leading owner with 13 Wins.
Trainer Todd Pletcher claimed the H. Allen Jerkens training title for the 14th time in his illustrious career with 32 Wins.
The Ortiz brothers (to no ones surprise) battled down to the final race of the meet as Irad Ortiz Jr. edged out Jose Ortiz 59 to 58 to claim the Angel Cordero Jr. riding title.
During this season without spectators, fans (in the highest numbers ever) turned to Saratoga Live, the highly-acclaimed and award-winning television program.
Average viewership of Saratoga Live on FS1 totaled approximately 120,000, while just under 1.3 million viewers watched the Travers Stakes on FOX.
Overall time spent viewing Saratoga Live increased by 300 percent during the more than 210 hours of live programming broadcast on FOX Sports throughout the meet.
Throughout Mondays final live broadcast from The Spa the network aired prerecorded thank-yous from all the jockeys and trainers still on hand. It was a nice touch as they were all gracious in saying how much they missed the roaring crowds, and appreciated the continued support from the fans, while hoping we’ll all be back in person next season.