Yours truly was on hand at Belmont Park for the Belmont Stakes, extending my streak of consecutive Belmont Stakes attended at 7 (I missed the Funny Cide failed Triple Crown attempt in ’03 due to a wedding thrown by someone who can’t read a racing schedule).
Despite a pretty hot and humid day the crowd appeared to be in good spirits and happy to at the big Park for the day. It was real hot walking around the Paddock area, but after the Big Brown Humidity-Toilet Fiasco of 2008 all future Belmont Stakes will feel comfortable to me.
The crowd was announced at 45,243. I always wonder about these numbers and whether they are accurate or not. Before I heard the announced #, I calculated in my head what I thought the right number was by comparing the crowd I saw in the seats and out in the backyard area to last years # of 52,186. I came up with about 48,000 so the 45,243 figure is probably right. This years crowd did not appear to be to be that much lower than last years crowd.
After meeting up with Geno of EquiSpace fame at the Paddock, I returned to the Clubhouse to prepare my pick 6 ticket with 2 others in our group. We rolled through the first 3 races before Champagne d’Oro hit at 39-1 in the Acorn. All my worries about leaving Tanda off the ticket was for naught once Champagne whoever crossed the line and crashed our Pick 4 ticket also.
I’ve read criticism elsewhere of Jasmine Villegas’ version of “Empire State of Mind” sung live before the big race. Hate to pile on the young singer, but it sucked. While I didn’t join the fray I can confirm about half the crowd in my section of the clubhouse were booing as the song played.
As for the big race, I loved Fly Down and First Dude and had both in a bunch of exactas and Tri’s but Drosselmeyer was nowhere to be found on any of my tickets. Don’t know what to think about this year’s 3 year old crop-lets see how the Haskell and Travers shakes out.
The Starting Gate being driven onto the dirt track before the Belmont Stakes:
Photo credit: Me