Monday, July 21, 2008

Opening Day Facts

With Just one day to rest up for Opening Day at Saratoga here are some figures to ponder...

Best opening day attendance at the Saratoga Race Track - 32,913 (2002)
Best opening day on Track handle-3,789,795 (2007)
Best total opening Day handle-15,533,027 (2006)

The opening day attendance this year should be strong-but not a record. Last year, under a gorgeous sunny sky with low humidity, attendance was 30,052. The photo in this post, taken by myself on opening day 2007, gives you an idea of the pristine weather that day. The weather is forecast to be more iffy this year, with higher humidity and possible rain, so lets go with 29,285. I expect on track handle (reflective of the feel good atmosphere at Saratoga) to be strong at 3,700,000 with total on and off track handle (more reflective of the less than stellar economy) dipping a bit to be about 14,500,000.

Overall I am sticking with my position that attendance overall for the meet will be very strong. Contrary to the "sky is falling crowd" who love to trumpet how terrible the economy is doing and how people are choosing gas over food-I see no starving people in the streets of Saratoga. The restaurants are packed, the Caroline street bars are elbow to elbow, the hotels from Clifton Park at Exit 9- up to Wilton at Exit 15 are booked (the track is off Exit 13 and/or exit 14), and everyone who came up last year is here now and the mood is festive. The uniqueness of this meet, the generally strong fields and the draw of the Saratoga scene seems to trump current economic conditions.

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