94,476 Attend Belmont; Handle Soars
Photo: Jeffrey Snyder
The Belmont crowd arrived early and wagered often.
The New York Racing Association reported that 94,476 were on hand under sunny skies on a sweltering day at Belmont Park June 7 to witness yet another Triple Crown upset, with longshot Da' Tara going wire to wire in the 140th Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The victory ended heavily favored Big Brown's attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

NYRA reported on-track wagering on Belmont Stakes day races totaled $13,233,071 for the 13-race presentation, up 49.6% from $8,843,720 in 2007. An additional $507,776 was wagered on track on incoming simulcasts, making the total on-track handle $13,740,847, up 43.4% from $9,580,465 in 2007.  

The on-track handle of $13,740,847 fell short of the record Belmont Stakes day on-track handle of $14,461,402 in 2004 when Birdstone   beat Smarty Jones   to end his bid for the Triple Crown, but is the second highest on-track handle in the history of the Belmont Stakes.

Total all-sources handle, which includes money bet on Belmont Stakes day races at simulcast outlets, was $99,858,202, up 32% from $75,657,986 in 2007. All-sources handle of $99,850,202 fell short of the record Belmont Stakes day all-sources handle of $114,968,346 in 2004.

"Today was a spectacular day of racing at Belmont Park," said Charles Hayward, president and chief executive officer of the New York Racing Association. "The outcome of the Belmont Stakes proves once again just how difficult it is to win the elusive Triple Crown."

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