07/16/2017 10:01PM

Handle down at Belmont spring meet


ELMONT, N.Y. – All-sources handle for the 54-day Belmont spring-summer meet that ended Sunday was $581,496,467 down 5.3 percent from last year’s figure of $613,870,654, according to figures provided by the New York Racing Association. Ontrack handle was $77,960,658, down 5.6 percent from last year’s 54-day meet figure of $82,620,628.

The 2017 meet endured several rainy weekends and there were at least four Saturday cards that were impacted by rain. The most notable one was June 18 when the final six races of the card were canceled after the jockeys refused to ride due to concerns with what was a very wet and heavy main track.

During this year’s meet, there were 507 races run, seven fewer than last year. There were 234 turf races run this year with 45 transferred to the dirt due to weather. An additional five turf races were canceled as part of the June 18 card. In 2016, there were 247 turf races run with only 22 transferred to the dirt due to weather.

Average field size at this year’s meet was 7.80 horses per race compared to 7.92 in 2016.

:: Saratoga Clocker Report: Get in-depth workout analysis for the 2017 summer meet

This year’s Belmont Stakes card handled $93.6 million, down 5.8 percent from last year’s card that handled $99.4 million. This year’s Belmont Stakes did not feature the Kentucky Derby or Preakness winner whereas last year’s race included the Preakness winner only.

On the track, Chad Brown won the trainer’s title with 40 winners from 148 starters. He led in purse money with $4.9 million. Todd Pletcher, who won the Belmont Stakes with Tapwrit, and Linda Rice finished in a tie for second with 24 wins apiece. Rudy Rodriguez (23) and Christophe Clement (19) rounded out the top five.

Jose Ortiz won his second consecutive Belmont spring/summer meet title with 65 wins, four more than his brother Irad Ortiz Jr. Jose Ortiz, who won the Belmont Stakes on Tapwrit, also led all riders in earnings with $6.5 million. Over the last six cards, Jose Ortiz won 12 races from 44 mounts while Irad Ortiz Jr. went 4-for-48 during that same span. Manny Franco (47), Joel Rosario (43) and Luis Saez (41) completed the top five.

Michael Dubb, with various partners, was leading owner with 18 wins followed by Paul Pompa Jr. (10), and Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence (8), Mike Repole (8) and Chester and Mary Broman (8).