Sunday, June 10, 2012

We Didn't Have Another

The Belmont Stakes lost much of its luster when I'll Have Another was scratched and retired on Friday morning. In spite of the disappointment of having no triple crown possibilities which reduced the crowd by 30,000 people and busted out every ticket scalper in the city, Saturday was still a beautiful day of racing at Belmont Park.

 In the end there was a feel-good story to remember as Union Rags brought the prize home to a very deserving owner Phyllis Wyeth and trainer Michael Matz tasted success again at the highest level. It is always good to see nice people win the big ones.

In a dramatic finish that echoed this year's Derby and Preakness, the front running Paytner was caught in the last strides by a very game Union Rags. For the third triple crown race in a row, a horse trained by Bob Baffert (Bob Blaffert as he is known in certain circles) was denied at the wire. I had most of my money on Paytner and was initially disappointed that the rider (pinhead) let Rags get by on the rail. In the end, I was happy Union Rags won and holding a saver exacta 3-9, we didn't have to go back to the city by railroad.

I had not been to a Belmont since War Emblem's failed bid in 2002. It really is a beautiful track with a size and scope that is breathtaking. The New York crowd included a good selection of mini wise guys and Soprano wannabes who kept us entertained all day. There also was a girl who was topless at the paddock while they were saddling the horses for the Belmont:

 It was a great day of racing. Our group parted ways after a great dinner in the city with plans to meet again at Del Mar, Saratoga or Breeders Cup for more racing later in the year.


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