The Belmont Stakes can either be the most historic race in the Triple Crown series, or the most anti-climatic. This year it seems destined to be on the anti-climactic side as both the Derby winner (Super Saver) and the Preakness winner (Lookin At Lucky) will bypass the race. According to an article at DRF.com, the following horses are possible starters at Belmont Park in three weeks:
Game On Dude
Devil May Care (f)
Make Music for Me
-I'm working on a Preakness re-cap of each starter once I can finally sit down and get through the race replay several times, along with the result chart. I should have that completed later on this afternoon.
-There is one other news items that I think is worth pointing out (and it was worth pointing out last year, too). And that is the correlation between attendance at Pimlico and handle. Last year, after the banning of infield patrons from bringing in their own alcohol, the Preakness saw attendance drop by about 30,000 people. Total handle for last year's race, however, was up 21% over the previous year. This year, Pimlico specifically targeted bringing back those 30,000 patrons by aggressively promoting the "Get Your Preak On" party. As a result, attendance went up by almost 20,000. Unfortunately for Pimlico, the number that really matters, handle, went down by over $7 million ($86 million to $79 million).
I've made this point before so I won't dwell on it too much, but what good does it do to try and get more people at the track if the people you get to come out pretty much ignore the racing? Handle is the critical number for every track, specifically on-track handle. Catering to a large group of people who are there for the all-you-can-drink beer is fine from an attendance perspective, but it seems futile in terms of increasing the number of people who will place a bet.