Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Upstate New York

2021 Saratoga meet breaks betting record again

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Despite above average rainfall and ongoing fears about the spread of coronavirus, more than one million horse racing fans returned to the Saratoga Race Course this summer and set an all-time betting record.

New York Racing Association President and CEO Dave O’Rourke said the all-source handle, or the total amount of money bet, reached more than $800 million, the third year in a row that the handle record was broken during the 40-day meet.

“Thanks to the energy, enthusiasm and support of the best fans in horse racing, the 2021 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course has been a tremendous success,” O’Rourke said in a statement.

He also noted that this year’s meet “has been a summer reunion like never before,” after NYRA raced without fans in Saratoga in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re especially pleased that the return of fans has translated into strong business for downtown Saratoga Springs and the entire Capital Region community,” he said. “The summer meet at Saratoga is as strong as any point in its storied history.”

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Rich Nilsen is an 18-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He cashed on the 2018 NHC Tour with a 19th overall finish. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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