Despite the scratch of I'll Have Another -- or perhaps because of it -- Saturday afternoon's Belmont Stakes proved that the sport is still doing all right despite having no Triple Crown winners since 1978. That much was evidenced by strong ratings numbers and, according to the Associated Press, a staggering number of wagers placed.
A close finish led to the second-largest amount of money wagered, strong attendance and higher television ratings, proving people will still watch the sport on its big days.
Union Rags, the Belmont champ, was actually tied with Dullahan as the favorite with 5/2 odds right at post time, but when betting opened Saturday morning every horse was facing longer odds than when it closed Friday, which could have spurred additional wagering. Regardless of the motives, more bets means more people watching and caring, which is ultimately positive for the sport, which had previously been in a slight slump since the mid-2000s.
For more post-race coverage of the Belmont Stakes, stay with this StoryStream and check out SB Nation's horse racing blog And Down The Stretch They Come. There, you'll also find A Beginner's Guide To Following Horse Racing and a glossary of horse racing terms.