What more could you ask for. The first race on Belmont Stakes (gr. I) Day was a runaway winner ridden by none other than Jose Santos. The New York-based jockey is the regular rider of Funny Cide, who later today will try to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner.
The crowd erupted when the field broke from the gate in the opener, the start delayed when Personal Prince threw Norberto Arroyo Jr. and ran off. He was easily caught by the outrider and walked back to the gate for the start of the seven-furlong.
When Santos and Acceptable Venture were striding out to win by many lengths, the crowd roared in approval. Though some were standing under umbrellas while a light drizzle came down, they were enthusiastic that the day's races had begun, and Santos had ridden the first winner on the card.
Acceptable Venture, owned by Wafare Farm and trained by Dale Romans, was the 3-5 pick in the first race.
Another eruption happened about 20 minutes earlier when the four school busses filled with Sackatoga Stable owners and friends arrived at the clubhouse entrance of Belmont Park. The biggest ovation was for Gus Williams, who strode into Belmont followed by television cameras and wearing his now famous Derby hat and yellow jacket.