By Sarah Fishback
Last Saturday was going to be a day to possibly rewrite history and finally have a Triple Crown winner. Unfortunately that was not to be when I’ll Have Another was scratched and retired the day before the race. This announcement truly knocked the wind out of the sails of many racing fans including myself. Three weeks of build up out the window, but I am glad they did what was in the best interest of the horse. Despite this fact I was not going to let it rain down on my first Belmont. There were still many great horses to cheer for and the 144th winner of the Belmont Stakes to be crowned.
I had never been to Belmont Park before and was in awe of the sheer size of the place. I have been to large racetracks but Belmont takes the cake in my mind. Luckily I was with people who knew where they were going otherwise I may have been wandering aimlessly for a while.
The day on a whole was absolutely fantastic. I have to thank TDN President Barry Weisbord for inviting me to the Belmont and showing me an incredible time. Our table established a show pool of betting early on in the day which managed to do well for several races but ultimately did not last the entire day. Luckily I did a bit better with my individual bets, which anyone who knows me will tell you is a shocking result.
The undercard races were almost as exciting as the feature itself. From Teeth of the Dog starting Michael Matz’s winning ways on the day to Tapisfly absolutely smoking the competition on the turf and then Desert Blanc getting a nose in front of Papaw Bodie. Each of these races increased my excitement for the Belmont. During some of the undercard races I made my way down to the grandstands and paddock to say hello to some of my friends in attendance. This provided me with an excellent opportunity to see all the festivities taking place around the track.Union Rags (Patricia Calkins)
Finally it was time for the main event; I went back up to my original spot to get the best view I could for the race. Watching Union Rags squeeze through the gap was an amazing finish to the day that I will always remember. As much as I wanted Paynter to win and thought he was going to until the last furlong I was just as happy for all those connected with Union Rags. It was a great race and a nice way to end the Triple Crown journey.
Myself, along with 85,000 other people saw what horse racing truly can be, there is always a great story. And no matter what horses are running they will try their hearts out each and every time. And hopefully 35 will finally be the year the streak is broken.The Belmont Crowd (Patricia Calkins)
--Sarah Fishback is a first year trainee on the Darley Flying Start course