Belmont Stakes Sees Handle, Attendance Drop Without Triple Crown On The Line
The handle for Saturday's Belmont Stakes was $52.6M, down 6.2% from last year, while this year's attendance of 47,562 was "far below the 85,811 reported last year," according to Matt Hegarty of DAILY RACING FORM. The '12 Belmont Stakes saw a handle of $56.1M, as last year's race "benefited from the run-up to I’ll Have Another’s attempt to take the Triple Crown, with heavy advance ticket sales." In '11, with "with no Triple Crown on the line, attendance was 55,779, and the year prior, also with no Triple Crown, attendance was 45,243." Meanwhile Hegarty noted "overall handle on the 13-race card" this year fell 8.1% to $88.7M, from $96.5M in '12 (DRF.com, 6/8). BLOODHORSE's Frank Angst wrote of this year's Belmont Stakes, "More than 24 hours of rain gave way early Saturday morning to a day that eventually provided sunshine and temperatures in the mid-70s." On-track handle with the drop in attendance "was down 22.3% to $10,700,326 compared with last year" (BLOODHORSE.com, 6/8). In N.Y., Filip Bondy wrote, "Basically, nobody won the Belmont Stakes Saturday, except a longshot named Palace Malice. ... Most of the 47,562 fans lost. Reporters lost, for sure." Bondy: "So ended another anticlimatic Belmont, and now get ready for plenty more like this." Palace Malice was a "fresh horse, having skipped the Preakness, and that's all that seems to matter anymore when you need to run a full mile and a half." Jockey Gary Stevens, who rode second-place Oxbow, said, "I'm doubtful any horse can pull off the Triple Crown anymore, to overcome the freshness of some of these horses. The Belmont carries its own prestige now; the prize money is so big that a lot of horses skip the Preakness" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/9).