05/28/2011 12:40PM

Belmont: A 31-race Holiday Weekend


About 20 minutes until the first of 31 holiday-weekend races at Belmont Park, where the track is fast, the turf is firm, and the temperature's a summery 77 degrees. I was planning to go out for both today's Sheepshead Bay card and Monday's Met Mile program, but at the moment there's a plumber 10 feet away from me knocking holes in the home-OTB ceiling in search of an elusive leak. Guess I'd better start betting since it's going to take an ROI of $150 an hour just to break even today. 

Here are the lineups for the three cards, and a little breakdown of how the 31 races shake out in terms of surface, distance and race type:


It looks like NYRA's going to get away with carding 16 grass races  over the three days with nothing more ominous than "partly cloudy" in the forecasts but there's already some course-switching going on: today's 8th and 10th races have been moved from the inner to the Widener, and the featured Sheepshead Bay has been switched from the Widener to the inner.

The all-turf late pick-4 on races 7-10 carries the usual Saturday $300k guarantee. There's a $30,132 Pick-6 carryover to start the weekend. Maybe we can get that to carry until tomorrow or even Monday. If I were playing today, I'd have to go deeper than the two obvious favorites, 2-1 Hibaayeb and 5-2 La Luna de Miel. Hibaayeb is the field's lone Grade 1 winner, and makes her second start of the year off a useful prep, but that was a shaky field she beat in last year's Yellow Ribbon and she may be an underlay here. La Luna de Miel beat Giants Play twice in Florida but had better set-ups both times.

The wild card is Cheetah, Christophe Clement's third entrant (along with Giant's Play and Tarrip). She's a Euro import with an odd career record of 3 for 3 on poly and 0 for 4 on turf, but this will be her first U. S. turf start and she's eligible to move forward in her second start of the year.

Or maybe it's just that plumber's hammer driving me to look for prices.


pierre More than 1 year ago
Steve: I may have missed it, but I'm surprised that no one noted the Midnight Mass incident in Monday, May 30, last race. Prior to loading, the assistant starter and the jockey kept looking at the horse's left front leg. Once in the gate, the horse is taken out of the gate and again the assistant starter and the jockey looked at the leg, before re-loading. Then, of course, the horse is pulled up after a quarter mile. This is not serious and a rip-off, especially considering the horse was the 8-5 favorite.
richhf More than 1 year ago
Unitas: NYRA posts all their photo finishes on their website. The picture in question can be found: http://www.nyra.com/PhotoFinishAction.do?action=viewImage&trackId=BEL&raceDate=2011-05-28&raceNumber=4&position=3 Looks like the 1 just nipped it by a fraction of a nostril, but that is so hard to tell without a magnifying glass (And having the #2 with a horse besides doesn't help)
Barry More than 1 year ago
Unitas : Photos can be viewed at NYRA.COM on the left column at "Racing information" and then "Photo finish pictures"
Christine R More than 1 year ago
I hope you do extremely well - house can wait when there are horses to play... :) Hope we get a glimpse of your day $$$$
Walt P. More than 1 year ago
Gary: The problem with quality is that horses don't race anywhere near enough these days as trainers are so worried about injuries that they "baby" their top horses WAY too much, which I believe is a reason we see the level of injuries we do. With this being Memorial Day and the fact Mark Haines (who's death was noted in my post in the last blog) was not only a real fan of the Sport of Kings and a major supporter of our troops (Mr. Haines always wore a flag tie on Fridays in honor of our troops and everyone on CNBC either wore a flag tie or flag scarf this past Friday to honor Mr. Haines), it had occurred to me there is something NYRA could do to honor Mr. Haines (since while his main involvement was in financial news, there likely were many in the sport who also were regular CNBC viewers who were also fans of Mr. Haines): Rename the Bowling Green Stakes (Grade 2 at 1 3/8 Miles on turf) the Mark Haines Turf Cup (also perhaps doubling the purse from the $150,000 it was run at in recent years to $300,000). As that race as currently positioned happens to be scheduled on opening weekend of the fall meet at Belmont, it also falls usually right before the 9/11 anniversary. As Mr. Haines' work on covering 9/11 that fateful day 10 years ago is widely considered the best work of his career and all the other factors, it would be a fitting tribute to have a stake run that weekend in honor of Mr. Haines, a man who truly loved the Sport of Kings and who was admired by many, including those in horse racing who likely watched him every morning for most of the 22 years he was at CNBC, where he was a legend (and whom NBC made in retrospect a huge mistake by not including on their Horse Racing coverage that I think he would have loved being on).
Old contractor More than 1 year ago
The leak is coming from the tile in the upstairs shower. Or, if it is very elusive, your roof. Aikenite and Ibboyee seem to be coming around at the right time for the Met Mile.
Dave or Divot80 More than 1 year ago
The Met Mile, to me, is one of the most intriquing of races because of the ONE TURN element. Will the sprinters carry it as to will the stayers be able to rev up in time? (Wish it were a better field, though) Divot80
Gary C More than 1 year ago
Is it me or has the quality of racing at Belmont beginning to look like minor league tracks? Can't remember Belmont having so few quality races over a holiday weekend.
jerry More than 1 year ago
Interesting cards all 3 days; but I can't believe they could not get more horses than this. 79 today, 80 tomorrow. Monday is a bit better. Good luck to all. Hopefully weather stays like this thru next weekend.
Unitas More than 1 year ago
Did anybody happen to see the show photo in today's 4th race @ Belmont Park? While watching the race live I saw the # 2 was ahead, but the # 1 horse was closing at the wire. I originally thought that the # 2 got the show, and just thought I was wrong when the # 1 was put up in the show spot. I figured that I would stay tuned to see the photo, and when I did, I was surprised. It looked to me that neither of the horses had hit the "wire" yet when the photo was produced. It looked to me that both the # 1 & the #2 were both an inch or two from hitting the wire. Did anyone else notice this? Is there any outlets that I can view this photo again(presumably in its unaltered state)? Any comments would be appreciated, and no, The order of finish didn't affect me financially either.
Bob More than 1 year ago
They add the wire to the photo afterwards. There isn't even an actual wire across the finish line anymore. So whoever's turn it was to do it was just lazy, as is normally the case with most NYRA productions.
anon More than 1 year ago
NYRA posts all photo finishes on its website. I just took a look and to me the No. 1's nose is definitely on the wire in this photo; I cannot say that the No. 2's nose isn't also on the wire. Had the call been dead heat, based on the posted photo, I could not dispute that call. Take a look. I think you's have to conclude the No. 1's nose is on the wire. But I wonder if YOU think the No. 2's nose is on it too, or just short.