On the Thursday after the Belmont Stakes, Belmont Park was nearly deserted. A sparse weekday crowd dotted the apron; upscale specialty cocktails were nowhere to be found; attire tended to denim rather than linen, and the hats adorning people’s heads bore not flowers and ribbons, but the insignias of sports teams.
None of that mattered to Sheila Rosenblum. She’d been present when American Pharoah made history, becoming the 12th winner of the Triple Crown, but she was no less excited on this day, when her 5-year-old gelding Erik the Red was making his 13th start. The fourth betting choice in a field of six in for a $50,000 tag, Erik the Red clawed his way to a head victory—his third—and Rosenblum strode out onto Belmont’s sandy track, her designer stilettos be damned, to grab a shank and triumphantly lead him into the winner’s circle, a route that’s become as familiar as the one she takes to her children’s schools.
Cover photo of La Verdad, Rosenblum, and her children courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese