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NEAR-RECORD CROWDS SEES ALL THAT HORSE RACING HAS TO OFFER
Published June 8, 1998
Saturday's Belmont Stakes, in which Real Quiet lost his bid for the Triple Crown by a nose to Victory Gallop, drew 80,162 fans to Belmont, the second-largest crowd ever to witness the race (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/7). In NJ, Mike Farrell wrote that "betting records fell left and right" on Saturday, as total wagering, including all simulcast and OTB betting, "topped" $55.6M. That figure "blew away" the previous record of $51.3M, set in '97 (Bergen RECORD, 6/7). THE RACE IS THE THING: Following Saturday's Triple Crown finale, Joseph Durso of the N.Y. TIMES writes under the header, "Run The Horses And Hold The Marketing." Durso: "For the second year in a row, the business of horse racing was saved by, of all things, a horse and a race. Not by a marketing plan or an advertising campaign." More Durso, on the NTRA's new "Go Baby Go!" campaign, which focuses on wagering: "Why make your pitch to common gamblers when you're trying to save your sport from extinction?" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/8). In NJ, Tom Luicci: "Forget all the recent attempts to inject life into the sagging sport, well- intentioned as most of them have been. Nothing can do for the game what [Saturday] afternoon at Belmont Park did" (STAR LEDGER, 6/7). ESPN's Mike Lupica called the race "one of the great Saturdays the sport has ever had" (ESPN, 6/7). NOTES: During an inning break at Saturday's Marlins- Yankees game, the Diamondvision at Yankee Stadium showed the race in its entirety. Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner: "It's the Belmont, it's part of New York. ... I thought the fans would like to see it" (N.Y. POST, 6/7)....Visa USA President Carl Pascarella, on the company's $5M Triple Crown bonus, which Real Quiet missed: "We wanted nothing more than to (write) that $5-million check" (DETROIT NEWS, 6/7).... "[C]ontroversial" Psychic Friends Network CEO Michael Lasky was forced to scratch his horse, Hot Wells, from Saturday's race after he "was told he would not be granted a racing license" on Friday. Lasky said that he "may take legal action" against the NY State Racing and Wagering Board (NYSRWB) and "perhaps" N.Y. Post columnist Phil Mushnick, who "criticized" the industry in his column Friday for allowing Lasky to participate in the race (DAILY NEWS, 6/6).