Some Sun Greets Belmont
Photo: Rick Samuels
Tractors work on the Belmont Park track.
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As fans started to trickle into Belmont Park Saturday, June 8 for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the sun began to peek through scattered clouds as more than 24 hours of rain had finally halted.

Maintenance crews continued to roll trucks around the 1 1/2-mile main track, which at 9 a.m. was listed as muddy following 3 1/2 inches of rain that started early Friday morning. The two turf courses were listed as yielding. More sunshine was expected in the late afternoon, which should time up well for the 145th edition of the Belmont Stakes scheduled for 6:36 p.m.

Morning temperatures were in the low 60s, with low humidity, with a pleasant high of 79 degrees expected.

There were only a few scratches from the day's stakes races: Reload from the $400,000 RTN True North Stakes (gr. II), and Quick Casablanca and Speaking of Which from the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan (gr. IT),

There were no scratches from the Belmont Stakes, expected to feature 14 3-year-olds including Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Orb   from the stable of Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Oxbow  , trained by fellow Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas.

All was peaceful around the McGaughey barn on Belmont morning, with Orb relaxing in his stall as McGaughey supervised the work of a blacksmith shoeing top turf contender Point of Entry   for his upcoming start in the Woodford, the race preceeding the Belmont Stakes.

The two stakes races on turf—the Longines Just a Game Stakes (gr. IT), race eight on the Widener turf, and the Woodford, race ten on the inner turf—were both still scheduled to be run on the grass.

In fact, the final two races of the card, an allowance-optional claiming race and claiming race, also were scheduled to stay on the turf. The only scheduled turf race off the grass as of 9 a.m. was race three, a maiden special weight for New York-breds.

Post time for the first of 13 scheduled races is 11:35 a.m. EDT. Post time for the first of six stakes races, the Easy Goer Stakes, is 2:34 p.m. EDT.

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