We tend to always knock weathermen, but they have been spot on with their predictions for Belmont week. The day before the final leg of the Triple Crown, as predicted, was as miserable as it gets, but race day itself, again as prognosticators said it would, dawned bright and beautiful.
The history of the track at Belmont Park is that is dries out quickly. According to the latest forecast, it will have about 17 hours to do so prior to the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Nothing seems to faze Mine That Bird, and lately, nothing seems to faze his trainer, Chip Woolley, either. There is a reason.
A reoccurring theme in this year's Triple Crown has been the game of musical chairs among jockeys. It couldn't have worked out more beautifully for Calvin Borel.
Jerry Hollendorfer has 135 horses in training at Golden Gate Fields in Northern California, but he has been making regular trips east the past month to keep tabs on the "big" horse in the stable, Chocolate Candy.
If you happen to be walking the sidewalks of New York in the days leading up to the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), you just might run into diet guru Jenny Craig, who will be in town for the race.
Trainer Chip Woolley Jr., who trains Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird, woke up the morning of June 2 to find out his truck had been burglarized and Mine That Bird's registration papers missing.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and his staff are not strangers to having good horses in the barn. Three years ago, Jazil won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Chocolate Candy put the finishing touches on his preparations for the June 6 running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I), with a final breeze at Belmont Park June 1.
Jockey Calvin Borel, who is in the enviable position of being considered to ride the country's two best 3-year-olds in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), was aboard Monday, May 25 as Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird worked four furlongs in :51.
West Point Thoroughbreds and partners' Mr. Fantasy and Sequoia Racing's Imperial Council will each try to become the first 3-year-old to win the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) since Honour and Glory did it back in 1996, but will have to conquer a full field of older horses on May 25 at Belmont Park to make it happen.
A racehorse was euthanized May 20 after crashing into a bronze statue of Secretariat in the Belmont Park paddock.
After two days off and a 9 1/2-hour van ride from Baltimore, Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird returned to the track at Churchill Downs for a light jog Tuesday, May 19. Meanwhile, Rachel Alexandra walked under Asmussen's shedrow on her second day back at Churchill.
There will be no Triple Crown winner in 2009, but there is a possibility of a showdown in the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) between the winners of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Blackberry Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
She didn't score the way a 1-4 favorite is supposed to, but Mercedes Stables' Seattle Smooth made a big move in the final furlong and ran down a pair of rivals in the final strides to win the $150,000 Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) by a three-quarters of a length May 16 at Belmont Park.
Mercedes Stables Seattle Smooth will try for her fourth straight stakes victory May 16 in the $150,000 Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares going a mile on Belmont Park's main track. The Quiet American filly will face five rivals.
Kiaran McLaughlin has been saying for several weeks that Charitable Man is one of the most talented 3-year-olds in the country and he only needed some more seasoning to show it. On May 9 in the $200,000 Peter Pan (gr. II), the son of Lemon Drop Kid backed up his trainer's words, taking over at the top of the lane and powering to a 3 3/4-length score under Alan Garcia.
Only a fool can be trusted with the Holy Grail, and William "La-Tee" Braud meets all of the qualifications.
Following a record 450 nominations to the 2007 Triple Crown and a near record 449 in 2008, the number has decreased to 401 in 2009.
All-sources handle for all New York Racing Association tracks declined 2.1% in 2008, but purses grew 3.1%, it was reported Jan. 22.
Nominations for the 2009 Triple Crown of racing the 135th Kentucky Derby (gr. I), 134th Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and 141st Belmont Stakes (gr. I) are being taken from horsemen with promising for 3-year-olds.
Gretchen and Roy Jackson have donated $200,000 to the Belmont Child Care Association, it was announced Dec. 23.
The top Republican in the New York state Legislature is, again, calling on the governor and Democrats to back an effort to bring a casino to Belmont Park.
State regulators in New York have begun the process of creating advisory boards to wrestle with issues in the communities surrounding the New York Racing Association's racetracks.
IEAH Stables and WinStar Farm's Court Vision, who lost to Gio Ponti by a nose in the July 19 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT), turned the tables on his rival Oct. 4 in the $250,000 Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT), as the son of Gulch edged in front in mid-stretch and went on win by a three parts of a length on the Belmont turf.
Curlin made racing history by winning the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr.I) at Belmont Park in New York Sept. 27. Curlin's victory, which was worth $450,000, made the colt the richest North American-based Thoroughbred of all-time and the first to vault past the $10-million mark.
After being scratched at the gate of last Saturday's Gazelle Handicap, trainer Bobby Frankel is still trying to make Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) with his 3-year-old Country Star.
Churchill Downs and Great Britain's Kempton Park Racecourse have announced a race for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds that will provide a clear path for the winner to a starting spot in the field for the 2009 running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Defending Horse of the Year Curlin turned in an effortless five-furlong breeze the morning of Sept. 15 over the fast Oklahoma training track at Saratoga Race Course, covering the distance in 1:01.80 under regular exercise rider Carlos Rosas.
The New York Racing Association, created more than 50 years ago to bolster the Thoroughbred industry, took on a new life Sept. 12 with the formal approval by the state of a new 25-year franchise to exclusively operate Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga racetracks.
A year ago, Larry Jones saddled Proud Spell to victory in the Matron Stakes (gr. II). Jones can only hope his entry in this year's Matron, On the Menu, is destined for the same kind of success. On Sept. 13, she tries stakes company for the first time in the prestigious $250,000 event for 2-year-old fillies at Belmont.
Criminologist, the only graded stakes winner in a field of nine fillies and mares, has the advantage in the $100,000 Noble Damsel Handicap (gr. IIIT) Sept. 13 on the Belmont turf.
Paul Pompa Jr.'s Backseat Rhythm came with a five-wide move and rallied from fifth at the top of the stretch, eventually getting up in the final strides under Javier Castellano to win the $250,000 Garden City Stakes (gr. IT) by a half-length on Belmont's yielding turf course Sept. 6.
The new top regulator of racing in New York state offered a tough assessment of an industry he says is in decline in many ways because of its own doing.
Birdstone notched his first winner when his son S. S. Stone won at Hollywood Park on June 29 in his initial race.
In her first start since winning the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), Proud Spell had a horrible trip that ended with being disqualified from second to third as Music Note won the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park June 28.
The bill is fairly minor in nature, enacting a series of mostly technical amendments to a law approved earlier this year giving NYRA a 25-year extension to run Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga. But NYRA officials have said they could not resolve its bankruptcy proceeding without it.
Each day brings new entries in the "Brown Shoe Diaries." The latest photos from the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) reveal Big Brown was stepped on by Guadalcanal leaving the gate, and that the shoe did not re-set itself during the race as previously thought; the colt ran the entire way with the shoe dislodged and the nail protruding from it.
Tony Micallef, the jockey agent for Alan Garcia, who upset the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) aboard Da' Tara, has "no racing privileges" in New York, according to Daniel Toomey of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.
Charlie Hayward, the president and chief executive officer of the New York Racing Association, spoke about NYRA's ongoing franchise issues during a June 23 press conference in Albany, N.Y., previewing the upcoming Saratoga Race Course meet.
Since her tough luck loss in last year's Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I), all Ginger Punch has done is reel off five grade I or II victories and collect the Eclipse Award for top older female. On June 14 the Awesome Again mare will return to Belmont for some unfinished business as the overwhelming favorite in the $300,000 Ogden Phipps.
Preliminary analysis by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau suggests nothing appears amiss with wagering on the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) won by longshot Da' Tara.
Trainer Rick Dutrow's initial displeasure over Kent Desormeaux's ride aboard Triple Crown hopeful Big Brown in the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr.I) had abated quite a bit the morning of June 11, after he met with the Hall of Fame jockey. Dutrow said Desormeaux, who eased Big Brown at the top of the stretch in the Belmont, would have the mount when the colt races again.
Nick Zito, New York's favorite son, shuts the door on another Triple Crown bid, this time beating Big Brown with Da' Tara.
Big Brown's downfall in the Belmont came in his training regimen.
Trainer Steve Asmussen was none too pleased with the 128-pound impost assigned to 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin for his expected bid in the June 14 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. Still, after a half-mile breeze in :49 seconds by the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner June 9, Asmussen indicated the horse would start in the 1 1/8-mile event.
The eight other runners from the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) were resting well, their trainers looking on to future goals for the summer, as the Triple Crown season concluded June 7.
Dancing Forever glided to the rail midstretch in the June 7 Woodford Reserve Manhattan (gr. IT) and looked like a winner, but Out of Control was ready to give him a tussle in the final yards. In a thriller to the finish, it was Dancing Forever who became a grade I winner in the $400,000 Manhattan with his nose decision over Out of Control in the 1 1/4-mile turf race at Belmont Park.
The world awaited a delivery from Big Brown, but in a shocker it was 38-1 longshot Da' Tara who won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), taking the "Test of the Champion" in wire-to-wire fashion June 7 as the horse seeking to win the Triple Crown was eased past the wire.
Zaftig roared past last year's 2-year-old champion Indian Blessing to pull away to a 4 1/2-length win in the $250,000 Acorn Stakes (gr. I) June 7 at Belmont Park, nabbing her second consecutive score this season.
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