On Saturday’s big day of racing, there were stories to be told, photos to be taken, and races to be analyzed…but you’re going to have to look elsewhere for all of that, because for the first time in ages, I spent Saturday at the races as a pure fan.
Adam Wiener of Hello Race Fans and I held a belated for me/early for him birthday celebration at the picnic area at the top of the stretch—we were blessedly fortunate with the weather, as it seems to have been the only day in the last six weeks that it hasn’t rained at Belmont, and a combination of racing veterans and novices came out to celebrate with us, barbecue, and bet. (FATE: are you listening?)
Over and over we heard from our guests: “This is great!” “We can’t wait to come back!” “We love it here!” True to form, the racing gods smiled on the rookies, gently reeling them in, making this oh-so-hard game look oh-so-easy.
I saw a little girl of about four walking around with a handful of dollars. “She won!” said her proud father. A teenager at our party cashed a $73 winner. One of our guests, Dan, had Rick Schosberg’s Dantastic for $20.80.
The view of the horses coming off the turn is sublime, and in the picnic areas all around us, people moved to the rail as the race went off, cheering for their picks as the horses thundered past. It was tough to tell who won, but the suspense sometimes just made it more exciting.
Any discussion of Saturday racing would be incomplete without mentioning Presious Passion’s win in the United Nations. I’d call it astonishing, but his wild run and ultimate victory have become almost routine. Yesterday’s race was a déjà vu moment, recalling his win in the Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream a few months ago. You have to just shake your head and admire him (even as you despair the way his name is spelled)—all hail Presious Passion!