Belmont Drenched, Expected Nice for Saturday
Updated: Sunday, June 9, 2002 1:50 PM
Posted: Friday, June 7, 2002 12:23 PM
The entire New York area, including Belmont Park where Saturday War Emblem will make a run for history in the Triple Crown, received a considerable amount of rain Thursday evening.
Parts of Manhattan were reporting as much as two inches of rain overnight, with Friday remaining overcast and windy. Traffic reports on New York radio stations Friday morning reported numerous flooded areas and accidents related to the storm.
On the backside Friday morning, a persistent light rain fell as the Belmont horses went out to gallop.
Horsemen, however, said the track was in very good shape considering the rainfall.
"This track is very good right now," Tom Albertrani, a Godolphin assistant, said Friday morning after several Godolphin horses, including Belmont starter Essence of Dubai, galloped. "They sealed the track, then rolled it. It is in very good shape," he said.
Murray Johnson, who trains Kentucky Derby (gr. I) third and Belmont starter Perfect Drift, said though his horse has run well twice on off tracks, he is hoping for a dry track on Saturday. "We have a chance for a Triple Crown winner," he said of War Emblem. "Let's find out on a dry track."
Johnson may get his wish. The National Weather Service is calling for continued clouds and wind on Friday, but on Belmont Stakes Day mostly sunny and 71.
The three turf races at Belmont Friday will not be run on the grass. No decision has been made yet for the races scheduled on the turf for Saturday.
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