Updated on 06/12/2016 4:39PM

Belmont Stakes handle drops 37 percent


All-sources betting on this year’s Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York was down 37 percent compared with wagering on the race last year, when interest in the race was buoyed significantly by the popular and ultimately successful bid for a Triple Crown by American Pharoah, according to charts of the races.

As expected, betting of $52.2 million this year did not compare favorably with wagering on last year’s Belmont, which attracted the second-highest handle figure in the history of the race. Compared with betting on the race in the last year in which a Triple Crown was not on the line, in 2013, wagering this year on the race was down 0.8 percent, according to charts.

This year’s Belmont field had 13 horses, compared with eight last year. The 2013 Belmont had a 14-horse field.

Total betting on the 13-race card this year of $99.9 million was down 26.5 percent compared with betting on last year’s 13-race card. But the total this year was up significantly compared to the 13-race card in 2013, by 12.6 percent. In 2014, Belmont officials revamped the card by adding several Grade 1 races to the slate, including the prestigious Metropolitan Handicap, and the effort certainly bolstered the figures this year without a Triple Crown on the line.

A total of 126 horses ran on this year’s card, compared with 115 last year.

The wagering figures this year demonstrate once again the dramatic impact of a Triple Crown try for business at Belmont Park and for its operator, the New York Racing Association. In 2014 and 2015, the association reaped the spoils from two consecutive Triple Crown bids, bolstering its revenue and clout. This year represents a return to normalcy.

The all-time record for wagering for a Belmont Stakes ($92.2 million, beating the previous record by $24 million) and the Belmont card ($150.4 million) was set in 2014, when California Chrome was attempting to put an end to the 36-year Triple Crown drought. Despite the presence of American Pharoah, attendance and wagering fell in 2015 compared to the 2014 marks, but attendance was capped at 90,000 last year to avoid large-scale logistical problems that plagued the 2014 running, while American Pharoah’s dominance and short fields for the undercard races dampened betting figures.

Betting on a pick six ending in the Belmont Stakes this year was $1,006,748, just past the $1 million guarantee for the pool of the race but down 45.6 percent compared to betting of $1,848,921 last year. Betting this year was likely negatively impacted by a highly competitive 13-horse race in the first leg, presenting a daunting multiplier to kick odd the bet. There was one winning ticket, sold at Lone Star Park in Texas, paying $640,034.

Betting on the pick four ending in the Belmont was $3.48 million, down 14.3 percent compared with betting of $4.06 million last year.

As reported by NYRA, attendance of 60,114 this year compared favorably with the 2013 Belmont, when attendance was reported at 47,562. On-track handle this year was $11.6 million, NYRA said, down 31 percent compared with on-track wagering of $16.8 million last year.