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Belmont Stakes betting on big return despite rough odds for 2021 race
4th June 2021
NY small businesses welcome reopening of Belmont Park to public
FOX Business’ Lydia Hu reports from the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, N.Y., on how small business that rely on the horseracing industry are preparing for the return of spectators.
The Belmont Stakes, one of the country’s oldest horse racing events, usually draws a crowd in excess of 100,000, has an economic impact on Long Island of more than $10 million and is the last jewel in the quest for thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. The 2021 edition will have none of those on Saturday.
The 153rd running of The Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park will allow spectators – but only 11,000 — after last year’s race won by Tiz the Law prohibited fans due to the pandemic. While the event still generated bets of more than $67 million, it was a far cry from 2019’s $102 million.
Still, the return of the race and any fans is welcome news to both business owners near Belmont Park and the businesses that directly tie-in to the horse racing industry after a tough 2021.
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"Belmont is Long Island's race. It is so great to have people back at the racetrack," said Christine A. Moore, the four time featured milliner of the Kentucky Derby – including this year's edition – and owner of a popular New York City millinery in her namesake.
The $102 million wagered two years ago was a record for a non-Triple Crown year too. With no crown at stake, that may damper betting as well. Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit and trainer Bob Baffert were banned from racing in New York last month effectively eliminating any chance for a Triple Crown. The controversy was rendered moot, however, when Medina Spirit finished in The Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown, in third place.
Despite lacking a Triple Crown hopeful, Moore has been preparing for the the big race and beyond.
"I knew [business] was going to get better [in the middle of the pandemic] so we built up inventory to the point where we had too much…now we have a shortage,"said Moore.
The impact of horse racing on state economies can indeed be massive.
According to Patrick McKenna, Senior Director of Communications for The New York Racing Association (NYRA), horse racing in New York State alone is responsible for "19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual statewide economic impact."
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And at the forefront of this robust yet niche industry are Belmont Park and the Belmont Stakes which McKenna says "are two of the cornerstones of an industry that creates jobs and opportunity in every corner of the state, particularly in the tourism and hospitality sectors."
While many are gearing up for this weekend’s race – with Kentucky Derby favorite and eventual 4th place finisher Essential Quality set as the 2-1 favorite – one of horse racing’s biggest names will not be participating.
Bob Baffert – the legendary but controversial trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit – was temporarily suspended from the NYRA on May 17th in the midst of Medina Spirit’s failed post-race drug test.