by Pat McKenna
Both total handle and on-track handle for the first two days of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival increased significantly over 2016's festival, the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced Friday.
On-track handle for Thursday and Friday was a combined $4.13 million, a more than 18% increase. Total handle for the two days was $31.07 million, an increase of more than 32% over the same period last year.
During the 2016 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival Thursday and Friday on-track handle was $3.49 million. Total handle for the two days was $23.4 million.
On Thursday, June 8, 2017, on-track handle was $1.28 million, a more than 8% increase over 2016. Total handle was $10.31 million, a more than 30% increase over Friday's 2016 total.
On Friday, June 9, 2017, on-track handle was $2.85 million, an increase of roughly 24% over last year. Total handle was $20.76 million, which was a more than 35% increase over 2016.
Saturday's card at Belmont Park features 13 races including six Grade 1 Stakes races highlighted by the $1.5 million 149th running of the Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets. More than $7.5 million in purses are up for grabs on Saturday.