Despite the Triple Crown not being on the line in Saturday's Belmont Stakes, the race reported a record crowd, along with very high ratings and an impressive handle.
The crowd was listed as 85,811, which was a 53.8 increase from the previous season, according to Daily Racing Forum. It was the biggest crowd for a Belmont Stakes in which the Triple Crown was not on the line. That should come with a bit of an asterisk, though, as Triple Crown contender I'll Have Another wasn't pulled out of the race until the day before.
However, the ontrack handle for betting was $13.8 million, which was the second-highest all-time for the Belmont Stakes. The TV ratings for the final 45 minutes of NBC's broadcast reportedly was a 5.4, which was a 13 percent increase from last year. Overall, it appears the lure of I'll Have Another brought the fans, but they still stuck around after the horse was pulled from the race.