A FEW THINGS I HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF:
First, this is not Blog Number 11, but Blog Number 10! Please update your scorecards as I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
Second, I did NOT get an interview with NBC's multitalented sports and entertainment reporter Michelle Beadle, but I promise, folks, the next time I see her in person and I can actually spend as much time with her as her retinue will allow, I WILL get her reaction on what the Garden guys (as opposed to the Liberty) should do in the off-season,Joss Whedon's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, (Is his low-budget update better than his blockbuster MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS?) and becoming the sole anchor of her NBC Sports Network show THE CONNECTION. (For all you diet freaks, I will ask her if she still likes fried everything, especially at the State Fair Of Texas.)
(Speaking of movies, MAN OF STEEL had its Metropolis, I mean, NEW YORK premiere last night at Lincoln Center! This Warner Bros.-Syncopy-Legendary-DC Entertainment epic is about to rewrite one of pop culture's greatest legends with a super-sensational cast, but you can ONLY find it at a theatre or IMAX theatre near you! Rated PG-13, which means it MAY be a little intense for Mr. Kent's younger fans!)
Now, on to our main piece of business, namely Belmont Stakes 144. The final jewel of the VISA Triple Crown Challenge, this Super Bowl of horse racing has been known as the standard by which all other races are judged. Although Orb won in "Lou-a-ville"(The Kentucky Derby) and Oxbow caused an incident in "Balmer," (The Preakness) Palace Malace earned a nice piece of change right here in "Noo Yawk."
Actually, the whole thing happened in Nassau County, Long Island, or, as the natives call it, "Lon Guyland."
Traditionally, I like to get up VERRRRRRRY early on Belmont Stakes Day, pack some reading matter and my radio in my backpack, walk over to Penn Station, and get my ticket for the Racetrack Special, as it's officially billed. This year, the Boston Marathon tragedy took precedence over everything, and, so, I had to leave the backpack home. Thanks for nothing, Borat and Borat 2.(I'm following the lead of Boston Herald collumnist and WRKO talk host Howie Carr and refusing to dignify those two by calling them by their real names.)
When I got to Belmont Park, the thing that really took my breath away was how beautiful the place looks with all the renovations that accompany every Stakes Day. Two security checks after you get off the train, (The guys know their jobs better than the TSA knows THEIRS! There was this guy who wanted to take his young 'un on a guy's trip to Belmont, but he made the mistake of loading a backpack with trail mix. That must have been a VERY short trip!) you enter the Grandstand, for the most part, a tribute to Old Belmont in all its glory,but as you go through the first of two doors, you enter the Winners' Circle, a themed area paying tribute to Belmont and its sister tracks, Aqueduct (in Queens), and Saratoga (Come for the racing, stay for the casino and American Revolution history.) as well as New York's professional sports teams. (I DO have a few complaints: The Yankee Ball-Bat-And-Hat Logo appeared above a picture taken at Aqueduct, and much as I hate the Nets for moving to Brooklyn and becoming the NBA's answer to pro wrestling's nWo, (Go to http://www.wikipedia.org for the complete story.) I also believe the New York Racing Association, Belmont's owner,made a major mistake by still using the New JERSEY Nets logo one year after they moved out of the Prudential Center in Newark.)
Another set of doors and a paltry admission fee later, you enter the Clubhouse, the closest thing Belmont has to a Hall Of Fame.Photos from past Stakes races and Breeders' Cup Days line the walls, and, although unlike other museums, there are no interactive exhibits in the traditional sense,you CAN watch replays of recent races.
On Belmont Stakes Day, THE place to be is the Belmont Backyard, right across from the turf track,and just a quick walk downstairs from everywhere. Racing fans can buy souvenirs, chow down on authentic Philly cheese steaks and Carolina BBQ, rock out to cover bands,meet racing legends from iconic jock Jerry Bailey to the Budweiser Clydesdales,win free stuff from radio station prize vans, and catch up on the action on the main track on screens large and small. (The little ones can shake hooves with Belle and Monty, the track's mascots,and have their own fun in Belmont's supervised on-premises play area right next to the music stage.) A special theatre screens simulcasts of races from other tracks such as The Meadowlands, Pimlico, Churchill Downs, parx (Spelling and capitalization theirs) in New Jersey, Santa Anita, and parks in the UK and Australia, and it, and the Backyard, are accessible from the Ground Floor of the main Belmont building,but screens all over the park carry the simulcasts.
However, TWO IMPORTANT THINGS ARE MISSING! The kids no longer have their Amusement Arcade, which featured a simulation ride which showed kids what it was like to be in the saddle and on the track, classic video games, and the "arm game," and the grown-ups no longer have their Barber Shop! On the plus side, the play area assuages parental concerns about kids getting all "videogramed" out and although I loved the barber who owned the shop, one year it was so hot HE CUT ALL MY HAIR OFF! That's right, friends, I ended up looking like Telly Savalas! When I got home, I said hi to my mom and took off my hat. Ten seconds later, she passed right out and I almost called 911! Another good thing about the Belmont Barber Shop going out of business is that the room is available to sell anything from cigars (last year) to unsold merch from past Belmont Stakes Days (this year).
"Hey, Stupid! What about the races themselves?," I hear you shout. First of all, DON'T CALL ME STUPID! (One of the nice people who suggested this blog you're reading, Phantastic Phoebe Cates,has the good taste to be married to Kevin Kline, a very talented actor famous for, among MANY other things, the comedy A FISH CALLED WANDA, wherin he spake those very words. If you saw that movie, you know that character was nobody's genius!) Second of all, for the first two races I bet, I broke one of the cardinal rules of horse racing: FUNNY NAMES DON'T WIN RACES! Eclipse-award winning journalist Sharon B.Smith once said, "If your name is Secretariat, congratulations! If your name is Suzy Slowpoke, you may have to get into another line of work." Not an exact quote, but I'm sure you get the gist.For the first race, the NBC Sports, I bet on DoIAmuseYou because I remember the way Joe Pesci delivered that line in "Goodfellas,"("WHAT KINDA FUNNY AM I? AM I A CLOWN? DO I AMUSE YOU?") but DoIAmuseYou...didn't. I tried another funny name for the fourth race, the RTN True North, (Sponsored by Racetrack Television Network,who's hitting the interwebs with its RTN Total Trackcess Online/Tablet/Mobile Package. For more, visit http://www.rtn.tv and enter promo code BELMONT2013.) and I bet the odds. I made a nice piece of change, and I kept getting cash back on the Woody Stephens (named for racing's winningest trainer) and the Manhattan, but as for the mane, I mean the MAIN EVENT,
here's how the horses did:
WIN PLACE SHOW
W PALACE MALACE $29.60 US $11.20 $6.70
P OXBOW $9.90 6.10
S ORB 3.90
Here's how I did:
I bet on Orb because (A) he won the Derby and (B) "orbing" is how Leo Wyatt, a Guardian Angel, or as he called himself, a "Whitelighter," moved between Heaven and Earth without waiting for Delta Air Lines on the TV show CHARMED. I got the short end of the stick, but my friend Alice wanted Oxbow, so, she's the proud winner of 15 somoleons. (Not a huge windfall, but still.)
All week long, the local weather guys predicted that the horses would be wearing water wings,but it turned out to be a nice sunny day with the high coming in at 75 degrees F, and the main track became Fast, which may have not been so good for the rest of the field, but it beat the heck out of Muddy.
You've been reading the "All-In-Favor-Say-Neigh" portion of Steve's Blog starring Steve "Seabiscuit" Eisenpreis. Comments and questions are welcome, and the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Google who has enough to worry about. (Reader is referred to http://news.google.com and encouraged to click the "Google,Inc." heading. I wonder why Google doesn't disclose they OWN that site? The next sound you hear is Murrow and Cronkite doing a combined 720 in their respective graves.)Portions of the preceding show were last seen at the betting window.On behalf of the management and staff, this is your announcer reminding you to log on to http://www.nyra.com and find them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for more information on Belmont Park. At least you don't hear THOSE athletes complaining that they need more
Bye, Buckaroos! (Which reminds me, I oughta start taking a course in Trigger-nometry! Sorry, the whole horse thing!)