Belmont Wagers Produce $62,000 for Charity

A $12,000 profit isn't too shabby. And who knows how much publicity was generated for Thoroughbred racing.

New York sports radio personality Mike Francesa made $50,000 in wagers on the Belmont Stakes to benefit the Imus Ranch, and his earnings for the race totaled $62,782.25. "Imus in the Morning" star Don Imus has placed bets in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont as part of a National Thoroughbred Racing Association Triple Crown promotion.

Francesa wagered $25,000 to win on Point Given, the eventual winner, and bagged $58,750. On the exotics side, he cashed $1,030 on the exacta, $1,140 on the trifecta, and $1,376 on the superfecta. Imus Ranch already earned $23,186 through the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

The Imus Ranch in New Mexico is a haven for children with cancer and the siblings of children who suffered Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The "Imus in the Morning" radio program is broadcast weekday mornings in 77 markets in 33 states to an estimated 10 million listeners each day. It is also simulcast on the MSNBC cable television network.

NTRA spokesman Eric Wing said the promotion got a lot of mileage throughout the Triple Crown, but especially in New York, where the radio show is based. "ESPN (covered it) on its Belmont Stakes special," Wing said. "It has been the topic of conversation in New York for a while, both on the Imus show and at the track."

The $50,000 in bets were covered, which means if there were no winning tickets, $50,000 still would have gone to the charity.