10/24/2009 12:12PM

Last Two at Belmont


Miserable as the weather's supposed to be in New York this weekend, I'm planning to dodge the raindrops and head out to Belmont for at least a couple of races, because all of a sudden the Fall meet is just about over. Belmont shuts down after Sunday's card and starting Wednesday it's six months of Aqueduct.

This year's Belmont fall meet flew by and never seemed to find its flow or energy. The weather clearly didn't cooperate (just look at the six-furlong splits of the three soft-course G1 grass races: 1:17.83, 1:20.43 and 1:22.20!) The meet's 10 grade 1 races were contested on just three cards, and six were run on sloppy tracks or soaked turf.  That dampened their significance, as did this year's Breeders' Cup being on a synthetic surface again. At least for the next two years, with dirt Cups scheduled for Churchill in 2010 and likely at Belmont in 2011, there figures to be a stronger connection between the Belmont fall meet and the Cup.


--It's not raining as I write this just after noon, but there were storms last night and more on the way for this afternoon and evening (enough that tonight's Angels-Yankees playoff game may be rescheduled.) The two turf races usually run as part of today's NY Showcase Day card, the Mohawk and Ticonderoga, have already been moved to tomorrow, and today's two remaining grass races (the 4th and 5th) have been taken off the turf. There are 21 early scratches on the card so far, but still plenty of warm statebred bodies: The all-stakes $350k guaranteed late pick-4 is still a 9x11x11x11 proposition.

No carryover in the pick-6 after there were two $56k winners Friday. Whether or not it carries today, there's a mandatory closing-day payout tomorrow.

Today's statebred trivia: With just over two months left to 2009, this could be only the second year since 1996 that a New York-bred has not won a Grade 1 stakes. There were none in 2007, but at least one in 1997 (VIctory Speech), 1998 (Lucky Roberto), 1999 (Circle of Life), 2000-2001 (Critical Eye), 2002 (Carson Hollow), 2003 (Buy the Sport, Funny Cide, Whitmore's Conn), 2004 (Friends Lake, Funny Cide), 2005 (Acey Deucey, Commentator), 2006 (Behaving Badly, Fleet Indian) and 2008 (Bustin Stones, Commentator.)

kmemmb More than 1 year ago
this race order is the worst--the sprint race 4 & turf 8th. that leaves only 1 pick 3 without them. the turf will only have 8 horses & the sprint the biggest favorite of the day. if they made them 2 of the last 3 races, then you'd have the other 5 races to play with or 3 BC pick 3's with the biggest fields. Really screwed up.
C More than 1 year ago
Steve, Nice headline on the homepage: "CLASSIC-BOUND Zenyatta..." Nothing like a big bowl of disappointment to kick off the Breeders Cup.
ml/nj More than 1 year ago
Teach me el_angelo. What is the difference between Roosevelt Raceway in the 60s, leaving aside the time of day and the type of racing, and a place like Churchill Downs except that Roosevelt drew more people? (BTW, I've been to all the places I talk about multiple times. Have you?)
El Angelo More than 1 year ago
Roosevelt Raceway in the 60's versus modern day sports and thoroughbred racing isn't even apples and oranges, it's apples and moon rocks.
Chris Martin More than 1 year ago
Hey Steve..the Exotic Betting DVD just arrived in the mail today and the new focus on Ticket Maker makes it a nice purchase. I had read your book but loaned it out to a friend and never got it back..I wont be so generous with this one! Thanks for the great work!
Andy Scoggin More than 1 year ago
Steve, Got your DVD today. Nice job!!! Thanks for the glimpse of your horse library and memorabilia. Glad to see I'm not that only one with an Ebay problem! My combined horse and poker book and memorabilia collection seem to pale in comparison to yours.
jim More than 1 year ago
If big states agree, problem solved: Steve, I cannot imagine what would happen if not all tracks running the same days did not commit to this agreement. There would be mass confusion on how many minutes to post at each track. I myself like to bet the east coast circuit and the last few minutes of betting always does change my strategy. My 8-1 shot is 2-1 now and im not looking at a win bet but now an exacta...I can see myself getting shut out especially if I'm watching two tracks going off at the same time. What would work is if they all did not run over themselves by running their posts at exactly the same time.
Dennis Maguire More than 1 year ago
I shall be upfront and say that Woodbine is my home track and my opinion about synthetic racing surfaces has not been fully formulated, but from what I have seen so far synthetic surfaces are more consistant regardless of the weather than the traditional dirt surfaces. Temperature has the greatest effect on synthetic racing surfaces and I have heard second and third hand comments on how the surface temperature affects the athletes, the jockeys in particular, is similar to the artifcal turf used in other sports- football for example. The contraversy about these synthetic racing surfaces is a red herring. There was never the outrage about the different dirt compositions and demanding that all tracks be of the same composition and groomed identically, some horses did not like the Belmont dirt others did not like the Saratoga dirt still others did not like the "old paste board dirt" of the West Coast tracks etcetera etcetera, and you will find over time that not all horses will like all synthetic racing surfaces (Mine That Bird may not like Santa Anitia’s Pro-Ride surface since he did not run well at the Breeders’ Cup last year). You question whether the synthetic surfaces are better for the sport ,that is your priviledge. I give this as food for thought, it is not unusual to see races originally carded for the turf to be switched to the main track to protect the turf during the long meets that are commonplace in North America and to protect the athletes, both horses and humans. I have been at more than one racetrack when stakes races were taken off the turf even graded stakes. If any stakes races are taken off the turf what is the purpose of the turf course? If the reason is for safety then the safety factor the main track then has to be questioned. Further food for thought,all over North America racetracks with at least one turf course management will take races off the turf to the main track when conditions make warrant such change, but have you ever heard of track management taking races off the main track and contesting those races on the turf course? I was present at Woodbine when the racing secretary believed that the main dirt track was unsafe and after inspecting the turf course ran every race that day over the turf course. It is not important to me personally if the Breeders’ Cup ever does return to Wood bine because it has become an elitist event. Originally the founders of the Breeders’ Cup envisaged as a travelling event so that every racing enthusiast would have an opportunity to attend this marvelous event , but with the way the ticket prices have skyrocketted the little guy has been shut out. I have had the priviledge of attending two previous Breeders’ Cup Days, the second one at Hollywood Park as a guest of some people I knew in Los Angeles and the first one at Churchill Downs (I still have an unused ticket from that one -$4.50 for a reserved seat and admission). Breeders’ Cup president and CEO Mr. Greg Avioli is proposing a ten track circuit. A circuit is needed so that every region has an opportunity to showcase the Breeders’ Cup and the regulating bodies of the varios jurisdictions to arrange there racing calenders to accommodate the Breeders’ Cup timetable. Whether the number of tracks is more or less than ten is not as important as every region being represented and no prima donna racetrack creating a special meet at the expense of the track that conducts racing during the Breeders’ Cup period,example Gulfstream Park imposing on Calder Race Course. Each track that hosts the Breeders’ Cup should run a regular meet ,it may be at the beginning or it might be at the end of a regular extended if necessary One last thought, according to Breeders’ Cup president and CEO Mr. Greg Avioli’s comments about an early November schedule for the Breeders’ Cup, do you foresee horse racing at Belmont in November? Momigi
tom mcdonough More than 1 year ago
Why would anyone bet this track with its lousy fields, bad weather and, most importantly, punitive takeouts? Keeneland takes 19% out of its full field Pick-4's. Whe pay 26% at Belmont?
Barry More than 1 year ago
Walt, whats with all the love for the Meadowlands? Owners hate it. I've heard of several who prohibit their trainers from running there...