NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The popularity of the Belmont Stakes, one of the three major horse races of the year that determines the sport's highest honor, can fluctuate year-to-year between being one of the most anticipated races and having little fanfare at all. Of course the deciding factor for which side of the spectrum the race falls on is the result of two other horse races, the Preakness Stakes and the Kentucky Derby. If the same horse wins both, interest in the Belmont skyrockets. This is because if that same horse then goes on to win the Belmont, voila, Triple Crown -- and it would be the first in nearly 40 years.
As the Preakness facilitates the general interest in the Belmont, it also helps drives the prices on the secondary market. Since 2012, TiqIQ has kept track of secondary market data for the Belmont Stakes following the Preakness. In each year, Belmont prices rose or fell immediately in tandem with the result of the Preakness.
After 2012 Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another also won the Preakness Stakes, Belmont tickets jumped 106.3% on the secondary market the next day. However, prices dropped before race day as I'll Have Another was scratched from the Belmont. In 2013, there was an 11.3% drop in price following the Preakness after Derby-winner Orb only finished fourth. Prices dropped significantly more as the race approached; the average price on the secondary market didn't hit $100. The case was far different in 2014, when California Chrome's Preakness win sparked an immediate 59% increase in average price for the Belmont to $437.82. The price did drop slightly before the race, but the $381.80 average was still 38.7% above the listed pre-Preakness average.
This year, however, has been interesting because the average for Belmont tickets were practically at the post-Preakness average before the race even started. It has so far changed less than 1%. There are some circumstances that would lead to the speculative high prices before the Preakness began. Derby winner American Pharoah was the overwhelming favorite against just seven other horses, meaning the market anticipated a Belmont where a Triple Crown was possible. The eight-horse field was the smallest for the Preakness since 2000. In the end, the market was correct as American Pharoah won easily on a muddy track.
It's likely prices will fall slightly before the June 6 race, but there will not be the large bump typically expected with a Triple Crown on the line. That bump may have already happened as 2015 Belmont Stakes tickets went into the Preakness weekend at a higher average than any race in the previous three years.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.