Commingled wagering on the Belmont Stakes alone reached $31,890,717, while the all-source handle on the race was $34,959,635.The higher handle figures were unquestionably helped by a 12th race added to the card. But equally helped by the fourth largest crowd in Belmont Stakes history. The race attracted 73,857 people, which was a 9 percent larger crowd than attended last year. Belmont's record crowd of 85,818 attended the race in 1999. The on-track handle for the race was $2,707,574, or about 35 percent higher than last year. NYRA president Terry Meyocks attributed the strong ratings and higher handle figures to good marketing, greater publicity by NBC's New York affiliate, and some special promotion such as the $50,000 wager placed on behalf of "Imus in the Morning" radio star Don Imus. The $62,782 in earnings from the wager was donated to the Imus Ranch in New Mexico, which is a haven for children with cancer and the surviving siblings of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. After receiving a donation from the NTRA, Imus bet the money in the Kentucky Derby to increase the donation. He parlayed the money throughout the Triple Crown. The $50,000 donation was guaranteed in the even he had no winning tickets."We have been working for years to make this an event and were helped by having a Triple Crown bid for three consecutive years," said Meyocks referring to 1997-1999. "Well, we've built on that and the people who came during those years had a good time and are coming back."
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