The first week of the Saratoga racing season is in the books and the fans (and gamblers) have come out in full force.

Attendance and handle for Week One (four days) at Saratoga Race Course posted increases from 2010 - the first year of the expanded 40-day race meet according to the New York Racing Association (NYRA).

Attendance for the first week was 73,875, up 2% from 72,452 in 2010.  On-track handle for the week totaled $11,146,736, up 10.6% from $10,082,862 last year.

Wagering at the downstate Belmont Café and Aqueduct simulcast facilities was $1,922,173, resulting in a combined on-track handle of $13,068,909, up 18.2% from $11,059,698 in 2010.  All-sources handle, which includes wagers on Saratoga races both on-track and from simulcast outlets nationwide, was $56,688,549, up 10.4% from $51,337,748 in 2010.

“It was a terrific opening week at Saratoga,” said NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward. “In addition to continuing the positive attendance and handle trends that we experienced at Aqueduct and Belmont Park, our all-sources handle also increased double digits. That is a very encouraging indicator considering the closure of New York City Off-Track Betting last December. Our customers responded very well to the great racing programs put together by NYRA Vice President and Director of Racing P.J. Campo. We could not have been more pleased with the first NBC ‘Summer at Saratoga’ broadcast on Saturday, which featured a dramatic victory by It’s Tricky in the TVG Coaching Club American Oaks and showcased the allure of Saratoga Springs.”

Average betting interests per race for the four days were 8.4 (334 total) compared to 8.5 (332 total) for the first four days of 2010. A rain-drenched Monday resulted in four races being taken off the turf.