Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Best Belmont Ever

Or at least, the best Belmont I ever attended. As it was the first time in 4 years without the possibility of a Triple Crown winner (War Emblem, Funny Cide and Smarty Jones being the losers), the attendance was down and we found Belmont Day to be completely and gorgeously civilized. Sunny day, no lines at the windows, no lines for the LIRR trains, less yahoos, and the much trumpeted "no outside alcohol" policy new for 2005 was easily transgressed.

Seeing Afleet Alex dominate the rest of the admittedly weak 3-year-old field was a treat, too. After that travesty of a Derby, where Giacomo staggered to a win on what now seems to be sheer chance, I loved seeing a tough, deserving horse take the next two races of the Triple Crown. He's definitely the real deal, a powerhouse who will be exciting to watch into his four year old campaign next year. With the retirement of super horse Ghostzapper, Afleet Alex is the horse to watch as "the best" over the next few months.

As much as I want to see a Triple Crown winner in my lifetime, if it means crowds of 63,000 vs. crowds of 120,000, I am all for no horse ever doing it again. And ending our night in Irish bars in Woodside after sloshing out of the LIRR was an amusing finish to the day.

Thumbs up to the 2005 Belmont.

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