With no Triple Crown on the line last Saturday, the 154th edition of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes delivered at the windows, but showed a decline from the previous year in New York sports betting.
Mo Donegal, with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr, aboard, provided Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher with his fourth Belmont triumph. Mo Donegal won by three lengths over filly Nest, also trained by Pletcher, in a final time of 2 minutes, 28.28 seconds. The win and the 1-2 finish was the first Belmont victory for Donegal Racing and Repole Stable, owned by New York native and famed entrepreneur Mike Repole.
Mo Dongeal, which won the Wood Memorial, went off at 7-2 odds in the Belmont. Mo Donegal finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby. We the People, the Belmont favorite during the week, held the lead for a while but faded.
With capacity capped on site at 50,000 due to the November completion of UBS Arena - home of the NHL’s New York Islanders - right next door, the day generated an all-sources handle of $98,766,906 with an on-track handle for the 13-race card (eight Grade I races) posting $9,530,303.
In 2021, bettors wagered more than $112 million, a Belmont Stakes record when no Triple Crown was up for grabs.
It was the fourth consecutive year in which a different horse won each of the Triple Crown races.
There also was no mobile sports wagering in 2021, as it made a dramatic debut in New York on Jan. 8 of this year.
As Race 11 on the card, the all-sources handle for the Belmont Stakes was $50,248,624. Last year, $60.5 million was wagered on the race.
The three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival - 33 total races, 17 stakes races from June 9-11 - registered an all-sources handle of $127,810,604.
Belmont’s spring/summer meet continues through July 10. It then heads up-state to historic Saratoga Race Couse.
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Kentucky Derby, Preakness Numbers
An 80-1 winner in Rich Strike helped the Kentucky Derby with a new wagering handle record of $179 million on May 7. That broke the previous Derby record of $165.5 million in 2019 when Country House was named the winner after the favorite, Maximum Security, was disqualified for a jockey’s objection.
The handle was up 15% over last year’s race.
The current spring meet at Churchill Downs in Louisville runs thru July 4.
Two weeks later, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, the Preakness Stakes brought in a handle of $65.3 million, a 5% drop from its record the year before. The 14-race card handled $104.3 million, a drop of more than $9 million from 2021.
Early Voting won the second jewel of the Triple Crown, outlasting the rest of the nine-horse field. Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike skipped the race to focus on the Belmont Stakes, in which he finished sixth. Early Voting did not run in the Belmont.
In 2021, the Preakness had a handle of more than $68 million, which was up 8.6% from its previous record set in 2005.