Belmont morning on the backstretch

If you’re looking for a little fluff piece on Belmont Day, you’ve come to the right place.

At 8:30 am, outside Barn 18, home of Mine That Bird, the self-appointed Official Cat of the Belmont Stakes holds court. The small assemblage of press pays more attention to the cat than to Chip Woolley. The cat is, according to Steve Haskin, a veteran of Belmont Stakes days; Haskin recalls seeing him at Hard Spun’s barn two years ago.

On we forge to the Pletcher barn, where we are greeted by a very friendly but elusive tabby. He’s social and charming, but resists having his picture taken. “You can have him,” we are told.

The cat at the McLaughlin barn has little time for stakes runners, visitors, and media types; there are birds flying in the rafters, and no way is he going to miss an opportunity.

Not only stakes cats and horses get attention today; a final stop at the barn of Jimmy Jerkens yields the opportunity to feed a peppermint to Quality Road (and to wish wistfully that we were seeing him run today), and to be led around by this fellow (female?), though I have been told that this is a “dog barn.”

More hard-hitting reporting to come, live from Belmont Park. And if you happen to be near a program, do check out p. 75.

3 thoughts on “Belmont morning on the backstretch

  1. This was my favorite posts of the year from one of my favorite writers. Great Work at and I hope you have a great day today!

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