Over 90,000 Winning Belmont Stakes Tickets Never Cashed Out for Triple Crown Race

American Pharoah after Winning the Triple Crown__1433893799_159.118.232.73

American Won the Belmont Stakes by 5 and 1/2 Lengths

Gamblers at the Belmont Stakes left behind $315,829 in winnings, because they did not cashed winning tickets on Saturday. Bookmakers believe the bulk of those uncashed tickets were kept for the sake of memorabilia, after American Pharoah became the first thoroughbred in 37 years to win the Triple Crown.

This was historical, something you haven’t had in a long time,” said ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell. The last time a horse won the Triple Crown was in 1978, when Affirmed bested Alydar in a photo finish.

Since then, 13 horses had won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, but failed to win the Belmont Stakes. As the long drought continued, the chase became bigger with each succeeding year. American Pharaoh is thus one of the heroes of American sport at the moment. Those associated with the thoroughbred are also being celebrated.

To win the Triple Crown of horse racing, one 3-year old horse must win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes. Those races take place from April to June ever year, usually over the course of 6 to 7 weeks. All three courses have different length tracks and different race conditions in 3 different states. Each field of horses is slightly different and the Belmont Stakes often has long-race specialists rested for the last leg of the feat.

90,237 Tickets Never Cashed

John Durso Jr., a spokesman for the Belmont Stakes, said that 94,128 2-dollar tickets were purchased at Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack, which are controlled by the same company. Of the 94,128 $2 tickets sold, 90,237 tickets were never cashed out. Each of those ticket was worth $3.50 apiece, but that would account for only $315,829 of the lost winnings.

Many of those gamblers are likely to have placed their betting slip back into their pockets, to hold as a keepsake in their own sports memorabilia collection. The bulk of the uncashed tickets likely are to remain in private stashes.

Selling Tickets on eBay

Some enterprising horse bettors are selling their tickets on eBay, where such tickets are selling for $20 to $30. Other sellers bought up many of the cheapest Belmont Stakes gambling tickets. One seller is selling a lot of 500 such tickets. Another is selling 150 tickets in a lot.

Among the uncashed tickets being sold for auction on eBay, most of the news coverage has been about the $2 tickets are being sold. Those tickets do not include bets made at NYRA Rewards, which pays winnings immediately.

Secretariat and Seattle Slew

Darren Rovell told ESPN Online, “This has been fashionable in the past.

Tickets for the Triple Crown wins of Secretariat (1973) and Seattle Slew (1977) sold for big money on the collectors market.

Rovell said that the tickets are simply worth more to collectors than the cash-in price. He said, “Whether you want to keep it for your memory or resell it, it’s worth ten times more than if you cash it in. So people are making good bets.”

One Year to Cash Them Out

Gamblers have until March 31, 2016 to cash in the $3.50 at the racetrack. If the tickets are not cashed by that time, the money goes to the state of New York (not Belmont Park).

Darren Rovell says that he sees little chance of the tickets maintaining their value of $20 to $30 on the online auction sites. He compared the 90,000+ tickets kept to the flood of investment in the comic book industry in the 1980s and 1990s, which led to a collapse in book prices.

Rovell said, “Everything is based on scarcity. If everyone has the same idea, like everyone gets into real estate, that’s what leads to a bubble.

Horse Racing Notes

Trainer Bob Baffert had brought 3 previous horses to Belmont Park with a chance to win the Triple Crown: Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), and War Emblem (2004). In each case, he was disappointed in the New York leg of the chase. Despite having won four Kentucky Derbies, six Preakness Stakes, and two Belmont Stakes, this is the crowning achievement for the Hall of Fame trainer.

The same can be said of Victor Espinoza, the jockey who rode American Pharoah in all three races. Espinoza rode War Emblem and California Chrome (2014) in their respective chases for the Triple Crown, but similarly had fallen short of the elusive achievement. Now, the 43-year old native of Tulancingo, Mexico has the biggest moment of his storied career.

Of course, owner Ahmed Zayat and the Zayat Stables now have their claim to fame. The Egyptian-American Ahmed Zayat made his fortune selling beer in Egypt. When he founded Zayat Stables in 2005, he wanted to make his mark as an owner of racehorses, though. American Pharaoh is now the most famous racehorse of the past 4 decades, whose siring fees are likely to set records.