Belmont Park Opening Week results in 84% increase in all-sources handle
by Keith McCalmont
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced that Opening Week of the 2020 Belmont Park spring/summer meet generated all-sources handle of $76,264,891, an 84% increase over the first five full days of the 2019 Belmont spring/summer meet.
With the 25-day Belmont spring/summer meet to be conducted without spectators and with strict health and safety protocols in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, racing fans engaged with the Opening Week action via America's Day at the Races, the acclaimed national telecast produced by NYRA in partnership with FOX Sports.
NYRA Bets, introduced in 2016, is the official online wagering platform of the Belmont spring/summer meet.
"The New York Racing Association thanks all the fans who tuned in to support live racing and wagered through NYRA Bets or with one of our wagering partners," said Tony Allevato, NYRA's Chief Revenue Officer and President of NYRA Bets. "During this unprecedented time in horse racing, we rely completely on our digital resources and television to reach our fanbase. We appreciate the commitment of our broadcast partner, FOX Sports, for sharing America's Day at the Races with viewers nationwide."
"The dedication of NYRA and of New York horsemen paid off with a record-smashing opening week, and we're proud to have played a small part in the return of sports to New York," said Michael Mulvihill Executive Vice President of League Operations, Research and Strategy for FOX Sports "The handle figures speak for themselves. Fox Sports is off and running as the newly exclusive national home of New York racing."
Wednesday's 10-race card, highlighted by Rushing Fall's score in the Grade 3 Beaugay, generated a record all-sources Opening Day handle of $10,972,254.
Daily all-sources handle continued to rise throughout the week with Thursday's 10-race card returning $13,287,772 while Friday's 10-race offering handled $13,871,264.
Saturday's 11-race affair featured the first Grade 1 race of the meet with Vekoma capturing the Runhappy Carter Handicap. The lucrative card, which featured three other graded stakes, saw an all-sources handle of $22,909,017.
A record-breaking Opening Week for the 2020 Belmont spring/summer meet was capped by Sunday's 10-race card which boasted all-sources handle of $15,224,584.
All told, the 51-race Opening Week slate returned an all-sources handle of $76,264,891.
In 2019, the first five full days of the meet - April 26, April 27, April 28, May 2 and May 4 - generated an all-sources handle of $41,376,401 over a combined 50 races. Omitted is the Friday, May 3, 2019 card, which was canceled following Race 4 due to heavy rainfall.
The 2020 Belmont spring/summer meet continues through Sunday, July 12. Following the five-day opening week, live racing will be offered Thursday through Sunday with a first post of 1:15 p.m. The 25-day meet will feature 22 graded stakes and 40 stakes races in total worth $7 million in purses.
The 152nd renewal of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes will take place on Saturday, June 20, as the first leg of the Triple Crown series, a historic first for the crown jewel of thoroughbred racing. Traditionally run at 1 1/2-miles, this year's edition of the Belmont Stakes will be contested at nine furlongs and broadcast live on NBC, the exclusive broadcast partner of the Belmont Stakes and Triple Crown.
National and regional television coverage will air every live race day on America's Day at The Races on FOX Sports and MSG Networks. Additional information and the current broadcast schedule can be accessed at https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the official online wagering site of the 2020 Belmont Park spring/summer meet. Available to customers across the United States, NYRA Bets allows horseplayers to watch and wager on racing from tracks around the world at any time. The NYRA Bets app is available for download for iOS and Android at NYRABets.com.
About NYRA Bets
Introduced in August 2016, NYRA Bets is a leading online wagering platform, available nationwide online, on your phone and at kiosks at NYRA tracks. As a legal, United States-based, regulated and licensed provider of horse race wagering, NYRA Bets gives fans the opportunity to wager on more than 250 race tracks worldwide from anywhere at any time. You can download the NYRA Bets app for iOS and Android.
For more information, visit www.nyrabets.com.