While a huge crowd can be anticipated at Belmont Park in two weeks when Big Brown attempts to become the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years, most bettors routinely stay home and bet by phone or visit their local off-track-betting facility.
Such has been the case in New Jersey, where the handle at the off-track site in Woodbridge has become the largest such handle in the nation.
The 26,000-square-foot facility is receiving around $300,000 on an average daily basis and is one of three current locations in the state, along with those in Vineland and Toms River.
Frank Zanzuccki, executive director of the New Jersey Racing Commission, said that eventually there could be 15 OTBs in the state, but that no application had yet been made to open a site at the now-demolished Garden State Park in Cherry Hill.
Bayonne is likely to be the next OTB location in the state. It is hoped the facility can open before next year's Kentucky Derby, the most lucrative day for off-track sites.
Dream Rush, a multiple Grade I stakes winner, would be the heavy favorite to capture today's $250,000 My Juliet Stakes at Philadelphia Park, but the 4-year-old filly is likely to start instead in tomorrow's Vagrancy at Belmont Park.
West Point Thoroughbreds, based in Mount Laurel, raced the daughter of Wild Rush, winning six of nine starts and $627,864, before selling her for $3.3 million last autumn.
The undefeated Fancy Diamond, trained by Tony Dutrow, could now be the favorite after three victories in Maryland and New York.
Cornelio Velasquez has been named to ride Fancy Diamond and faces the veteran Jet Away Jane, Wild Gams, Sheets, and the uncoupled entrymate Bedside Story in the six-furlong event.
Turf racing is expected to resume today at both Philadelphia and Delaware Parks.
The recent Trevose Stakes at Philadelphia Park appeared competitive on paper, but one local filly turned the race into a romp.
Dulce Realidad boosted her record to two victories in three starts after overcoming a severe bout of colic earlier in the year.
Dulce Realidad, owned and bred by Eric DelValle's Stud El Aguila, cruised to a four-length victory in the Trevose under Jose Flores.
Richard Vega, 46, a native of Cuba and a trainer for 16 years, said Dulce Realidad was easily the best horse he had ever trained, and he will now point her toward the $200,000 Jostle Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on June 14.