Attendance for this year's Saratoga Race Course meet passed the 1.1 million mark, according to the New York Racing Association.
NYRA announced Monday that the paid attendance for the 2023 meet surpassed 1.1 million for the first time since 2018, with average daily attendance being more than 27,000 for the first time since 2019.
The 40-day meet encountered weather rainy enough to force 65 races off the turf, way up from 2022's 16 races. An NYRA release said it "largely accounted for the nine percent decline in all-sources handle when compared to the record-setting wagering in 2022."
The meet was also marred by 14 horse deaths, eight of them listed as racing deaths, according to the state gaming commission.
"[T]he continued success of Saratoga depends upon our ability to continuously enhance equine safety through science and technology," said NYRA President and CEO Dave O'Rourke in a statement. "In the coming months, NYRA will make significant investments in PET scan imaging to identify pre-existing injuries; finalize the path forward regarding the adoption of synthetic surfaces at each venue; and expand the use of biometric wearable devices. Horses, fans and the racing community deserve nothing less."
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., won the meet's riding championship, while Chad Brown and Linda Rice split the training championship.