Belmont Park spring/summer meet generates $632,208,251 in all sources handle
by Pat McKenna
The New York Racing Association Inc., (NYRA) today announced that the Belmont Park spring/summer meet generated $632,208,251 in all sources handle, a 20.6 percent increase over the 2019 spring/summer meet and 63.5 percent above the 2020 spring/summer meet, which was abbreviated to just 25 days because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The spring/summer meet, which began on April 22 without spectators in attendance before reopening to a limited number of spectators on May 1, boasted 59 stakes races worth $16.95 million in total purse money.
Average daily handle over the 48 days of racing was $13,171,005, a 20.6 percent increase over 2019. The abbreviated 2020 spring/summer meet saw average daily handle of $15,466,198.
2021 marked the return of the Belmont Stakes to its customary spot on the racing calendar and its famed distance of 1 1/2 miles. In 2020, a readjustment to the stakes schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic saw the "Test of the Champion" run without spectators in attendance and as the opening leg of the Triple Crown series for the first time in history.
The June 5 Belmont Stakes Day card, highlighted by Essential Quality’s heart-pounding victory in the 153rd running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, generated all-sources handle of $112,725,278; a NYRA record for a non-Triple Crown year.
On-track handle for the 13-race Belmont Stakes Day card, which included eight Grade 1 races among nine total stakes, was $7,532,571.
A total of 454 races were run during the spring/summer meet including 243 on dirt and 211 on the turf. A total of 33 races were taken off the turf due to weather. Average field size over the 454 races was 7.6. This compares to 448 total races run in 2019, including 260 on dirt and 188 on turf. A total of 46 races were taken off the turf due to weather that year. Average field size in 2019 was 7.0.
A total of 248 races were run during the abbreviated 2020 spring/summer meet including 128 on dirt and 120 on the turf. A total of five races were taken off the turf due to weather last year. Average field size over the 248 races was 8.6.
Total on-track handle for the 2021 spring/summer meet was $49,343,664.
The 40-day summer meet at historic Saratoga Race Course, which will feature 76 stakes worth $21.5 million in total purses, will open on Thursday and conclude on Monday, September 6.
For additional information, visit NYRA.com.