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.)