Belmont Stakes Day, 2011

Jun 15th 2011 08:15 pm |

Saturday at Belmont Park closed another Triple Crown season. While the weather was terrible, that didn’t stop over 55,000 from showing up to enjoy a great day of racing. All the numbers were up in comparison to last year: ten thousand more people on-track, an increase in handle, and TV ratings up 50%.  Something to be said for a re-match between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners in the Belmont to bring attention to New York’s biggest race day.

While the somewhat inexplicable result might have annoyed veteran horse players, it made for an interesting story for the casual fan. Anyone with an inkling of interest in betting on racing will be attracted to the big price that Ruler on Ice returned in this year’s Belmont. In fact, our friend Dana at Hello Race Fans reported an increase in traffic to the “Beginner’s Corner” section of the HRF website.

Overall, I found this year’s Triple Crown season to be lots of fun. While I failed to pick the winner in any of the races, it was hard to be sour about any of the 2011 winners and their connections. With the exception of a certain owner, the human connections of Animal Kingdom, Shackleford, and Ruler on Ice are a likeable bunch. Graham Motion, Dale Romans, and Kelly Breen were deserving winners of racing’s biggest races and the jockeys, all first time Triple Crown race winners, were gracious and appreciative in victory. John Valazquez, Jesus Castanon, and Jose Valdivia Jr. delivered memorable post-race interviews aboard their winning steeds, with Castanon’s tribute to his father after winning the Preakness standing out among the three.

I had two friends along with me on Saturday. My old buddy Chad was in the house for his first Triple Crown race and my friend Jenny, a newbie to racing, spent much of the day people watching, a pastime that never gets old at the racetrack. We all had a blast, even with the bad weather. There is no place better to be than Belmont Park on one of their biggest racing days of the year.

I had a hard time getting any decent pictures because of the weather but got lucky with a few:

The Belmont Park paddock prior to the running of the Manhattan Handicap

Looking down the Belmont Park tunnel towards the paddock prior to the Acorn Stakes

The field for the Just a Game Stakes

Champion Gio Ponti before the running of the Manhattan Handicap

Crowd in the paddock as the horses make their way to the track for the 2011 Belmont Stakes

Back with a history post next week…looking forward to the summer racing season.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

 

Filed in Belmont Park,Belmont Stakes,thoroughbred racing history



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