It was a gorgeous warm day at Belmont. Swifty & I got there in record time. He didn’t get a chance to handicap so getting there an hour before the first race really helped.
Usually our routine is that we talk through the horses, watch the parade, go to the windows and then have the “what did you do?” chat back at the seats. We rarely go to the windows together. After putting in our bets for the first race he said “The clerk at my window said to me ‘I like your glasses and shirt, classy and classic’.” It’s good to be back at Belmont!
It seemed to be more crowded than usual, which is always good to see, although it also seemed like the crowd thinned out considerably before the Man o’ War… those people missed a great race! It also seemed like the payouts for the 3 stakes races were a little higher than I expected so perhaps there was more attendance than normal.
Some notable moments included:
4th Race – $35k Claiming
There were quite a few class drops and older horses, Gigli, a 9yo owned and trained by Bobby Frankel is both. 7yo Unigold was also dropping in class and 6yo Noah A was the horse for the course. Gigli is a beauty and looked great in the parade, she ran about 7 lengths from the leaders and closed impressively on the inside to beat Noah A by a half a length with Unigold not too far behind.
5th Race – $52k Maiden Special Weigh for 2yo Fillies
Catmosphere ($22.80) pulled off a nice win with Madam Bling ($12) also running an impressive race for place. The exacta paid $336, it was just like being at Saratoga! Swifty had Catmosphere to win… Storm Cat is her sire and her trainer Alan Goldberg is clearly a turf (22%) and maiden (20%) specialist. All things I chose to overlook in favor of going for jockey/trainer combos. I had WPS bets on Prairie Melody & Gulchstream.
Of the 3 G1s, the Garden City and Man o’ War were the stand outs. We both skipped wagering on the Ruffian, good thing because we both liked Take D’ Tour.
We also both tried our hands at the guaranteed Pick 4 but were out of it in the first race when Alexander Tango pulled a mild yet not surprising upset. She looked INCREDIBLE in the parade, Missvinski also looked good. We both had Missvinski & Rutherienne.
As for the race itself, I liked a lot of them, Missvinski, Rutherienne, Sharp Susan, Bit of Whimsy & Valbenny. I had various exactas including all of them but my problem was I had Rutherienne in all of them. They were all boxes because I expected her to be off her form a bit, but not come in last! It was a really, really slow pace. I also neglected to factor in (ignored) that not only had Alexander Tango placed in G2 to colts, but the winner of that race placed in the Epsom Derby.
Thankfully I did well in the Man o’ War. I had a decent wager on the winning the exacta, I also had exactas of Sunriver and Dr. Dino with Trippi’s Storm plus a win bet on Trippi’s Storm. Dr. Dino and Sunriver looked great! I did manage to factor in that they both do well on firm turf… the turf is definitely firm at Belmont right now!
Besides a great day of racing, it was good to be “home”. Saratoga is a gorgeous getaway but I love Belmont. I love the layout, the grandstand and the definite 1970’s flair of the surroundings. I’m hoping to get out there early one day and take some photos, there are a lot of stellar visual details. At one point the Billy Joel song “Just the way you are” popped into my head. Given the reports on the new PID, I sincerely hope the new NYRA deal doesn’t mess up our beloved Belmont… Classy and a Classic, in it’s own way of course.