The fall is a time of year when horse racing begins to slow down on the West Coast and move east. Del Mar just wrapped up its 2019 summer race meet and now serious horse racing bettors will turn their eyes to Belmont Park and other East Coast tracks. What can these race tracks expect from bettors given the disastrous 2019 Santa Anita Meet which saw the deaths of many horses?
The Aftermath of Santa Anita
Some claim it was just a statistical anomaly. Others claim that it was bound to happen sooner or later given the lax attitude that horse racing tracks in the US have taken toward illegal medications. Whatever the reason, the 2018-2019 Santa Anita meet was a disaster. 30 horses lost their lives at Santa Anita. One famous trainer was removed from the track. Animal rights organizations protested. The fallout continues.
No one really knew how the deaths at Santa Anita race track were going to affect horse bettors. Del Mar may have given us some idea. The Del Mar meet which comes after Santa Anita saw betting handle drop by more than 10% according to the Paulick Report. Even worse, attendance was down more than 13%.
Clearly, bettors and spectators alike have taken no joy in the Santa Anita fiasco of 2019. They are betting less at the live race tracks and attending fewer races. The sad part of this tale is that the Del Mar meeting did not have one single horse fatality. For 36 days of racing the track was without serious incident, and that is practically unheard of in the modern racing world.
Put this in perspective. There are 30 deaths at Santa Anita and the worldwide media goes into a frenzy. There were no deaths at Del Mar and there is very little reporting on the success. Such is the way of the world, and horse racing is learning that it is not immune to scrutiny that goes beyond that of the average race fan.
Can Belmont Right The Ship of Horse Racing?
In New York the closing of the Saratoga summer meet means on to the fall Belmont meeting. It begins just after Labor Day in 2019. A lot of eyes will be on the meet to see if New York is taking a proactive stance on horse racing issues. The current upgrades that are being given to Belmont Park might be an ill omen when one considers racing’s bad year.
Major changes are taking place at Belmont Park that will change the legendary horse racing track into a multi-purpose venue. This is the site of Secretariat’s legendary Triple Crown victory by 31 lengths. Now, the famous picnic area of the track will be demolished to make room for a new arena for the New York Islanders. The Islanders will leave the Barclay Center in Brooklyn for a new home beside Big Sandy, the race track that hosts the annual Belmont Stakes.
One only needs to look at California to see how racing is slowly pushed out by other interests. Hollywood Park once occupied a vast area of land that now belongs to development companies. In New York the problem is compounded by the fact that many believe New York cannot sustain three race tracks. Saratoga is the crown jewel in New York and will not go anywhere. That leaves Belmont and Aqueduct as potential candidates to eventually fade away.
Belmont’s fall meet is only 23 days long, but it features historic races like the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Losing the track at any point in time would be a devastating event for horse racing.
How You Can Help Save Belmont Park Horse Racing
Although the danger to Belmont Park is not imminent, there is still a need for racing fans to support the track. You can do that by signing up for an account with one of our recommended online horse betting sites. It only takes a few moments and you can be betting on Belmont Park and other tracks from your computer, phone, or tablet. Check our Bovada racebook review, Twinspires review or even our Betamerica review. All great choice if you are in the US. 5Dimes review for folks anywhere!