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Loss of Belmont favorite a ‘buzz kill’ for bettors, books

Three major events promised to attract action and crowds to Las Vegas sports books today. But the list was trimmed to two Friday, when horse racing’s Triple Crown was eliminated from the equation.

A leg injury led to I’ll Have Another being scratched from the Belmont Stakes, dramatically reducing the importance of the race and the potential betting handle.

“It is certainly a buzz kill,” LVH sports book director Jay Kornegay said. “Of all the events taking place this weekend, I thought the Belmont was the biggest one. It’s very disappointing that we’re not going to see the chance of a Triple Crown. I’m estimating it’s going to reduce our race handle by about 40 percent.”

Another sports book director estimated the Belmont handle will be 25 percent of what it would have been with I’ll Have Another, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, running for history.

The spotlight now belongs to boxing and the NBA. Manny Pacquiao fights Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden tonight, when the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat play Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.

“Typical horse racing luck. It’s always something,” said Brian Blessing, a handicapper for DonBest.com. “The books won’t be a ghost town, but the books were really going to be jumping.”

The worst luck was dealt to bettors who wagered on a Triple Crown winner, a proposition the LVH offered at 11-1 odds after the Kentucky Derby and 2-1 odds following the Preakness. Those tickets are tough-luck losers.


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