Despite the thrilling Belmont finish, TV ratings were down.<br><a target="blank" href="http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/photo-store?ref=http%3A%2F%2Fpictopia.com%2Fperl%2Fgal%3Fgallery_id%3D16620%26sequencenum%3D0%26provider_id%3D368%26process%3Dgallery%26page%3Dthumbnails%26ref%3Dstory">Order Belmont Photos</a>

Despite the thrilling Belmont finish, TV ratings were down.
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Skip Dickstein

Final TV Ratings for Belmont Slide 12%

Final national ratings for ABC's telecast of the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) from New York showed a 12% percent decline in viewership from 2006. The two-hour program, which aired from 5-7 p.m. EDT, registered a 2.9 rating and an 8 share. Each rating point equals 1.14-million viewers, while the share represents the percentage of televisions in use that were tuned to the program.

The 2006 Belmont telecast on ABC hit a 3.3 rating. In 2005, the final year that NBC aired the race, the ratings were 4.5. In none of the last three years was a Triple Crown on the line.

Ratings for sports programming have been unusually weak across the board. FOX's regional coverage of Major League Baseball games on Belmont day registered a 1.9 rating. The St. Jude golf tournament on CBS managed a 1.4, while French Open women's tennis finals hit 1.4. The men's finals the following day did a 1.8. The highest rated sports programming of the weekend was ABC's telecast of the NBA Finals the evening of June 10, which registered a 5.6, not a particularly strong number compared to previous years.