06/09/2012 9:14PM

2012 Belmont Stakes: Handle rises dramatically over last year

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Business figures for this year’s Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park posted across-the-board gains compared to last year’s Belmont, according to figures distributed late Saturday by Belmont’s operator, the New York Racing Association.

The robust gains were altogether surprising given the circumstances surrounding this year’s race. I’ll Have Another, who was going for the Triple Crown, scratched out of the race on Friday, leading to speculation that business figures would be depressed.

Instead, 85,811 people showed up to Belmont, a 53.8 percent gain over the crowd last year and the largest crowd to attend the Belmont in a race in which a Triple Crown was not on the line. Including numbers from Aqueduct, ontrack handle was $13.8 million, the second-highest ontrack handle for the Belmont Stakes, behind only the 2004 figure of $14.7 million. The ontrack figure was up 36.4 percent compared to the same figure last year.

According to the chart of the race, handle on the Belmont Stakes itself was $56.1 million, a gain of 13.1 percent over the amount of money bet on the race last year, when handle was $49.6 million.

All-sources handle on the 13-race card was $96.6 million, according to NYRA, an 18.8 percent gain over handle on the 13-race Belmont Stakes card last year. This year, 126 horses ran in the 13 races, compared to 125 horses last year.
 
Handle on the late pick four was a record $2,856,185, up 21.4 percent over record pick four handle last year, NYRA said. The pick six pool of $1,682,176, however, was down 12.5 percent compared to the pick six pool last year, which had a one-day carryover of $144,003.