06/12/2011 9:22AM

Belmont Stakes card produces 9 percent gain in handle for NYRA


ELMONT, N.Y. – Total all-sources wagering on the 13-race card at Belmont Park on Saturday was $81,245,326, a 9 percent increase over the all-sources figure for the Belmont Stakes day card last year, according to the New York Racing Association.

The handle figures were boosted by record handle for the pick six on a Belmont Day. The total pool for the pick six was $1,921,917, including a two-day carryover of $144,003. The previous record for a pick six on a Belmont Stakes day was set in 2008, when the total pool was $1,869,152.

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No one selected all six winners in the pick six after Ruler On Ice won the Belmont Stakes at odds of 24-1 in the last leg of the sequence. The three-day carryover going into the next live racing card on Wednesday will be $1.13 million.

There were 125 betting interests on the 13-race card compared with 117 betting interests last year. Because of overnight rains and intermittent rainfall during the card, the main track was muddy. The turf course was at first labeled good, but the condition was changed to yielding midway through the card.

At Belmont, wagering was $10,098,573, a 33 percent increase over ontrack handle last year of $7,598,840. Attendance this year was 55,779, a 23 percent increase over attendance for the 2010 Belmont Stakes. Last year’s Belmont field did not include either of the winners of the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness Stakes.

The crowd was the largest since 2008, when Big Brown was attempting to go for the Triple Crown. Betting and attendance figures are significantly higher for the Belmont when a horse in the race has already won both the Derby and Preakness.

Ontrack figures were likely boosted by the closure last December of New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation, which operated more than 50 parlors in New York’s five boroughs. The closing has limited the options for New York City residents to wager on races and spurred NYRA to offer transportation for New York city residents to its tracks.

Another 2,350 people were at Aqueduct, according to NYRA, which operates both tracks. Since the closing of New York City OTB, NYRA has operated Aqueduct as a simulcast site when the track is not running live.