Belmont Stakes weekend is upon us, and it’s a race that, if we’re gunning for the Triple Crown, is by far the most exciting leg… for obvious reasons. Otherwise, like this year, The Belmont is a weekend where New York gets to showcase the classier group of degenerates that do exist in this sport. With the Kentucky Derby’s infield shenanigans and it’s less cool sister who always wants to tag along to the party (The Preakness) there’s only one thing to be said: “stay classy, New York.”
I feel as though I’ve been here before, just a few weeks ago, looking at a field of horses for one of the year’s most prestigious races and scratching my head thinking “What?! Who are these horses!?” With the lack of any “superstars” this time around, the Belmont was holding on to dear life to Classic Empire. This, for sure, would be his race and the Casse team would finally prove their star was just that – a star.
Just as quick as our hopes were built they were dashed; like kids in a candy store, our noses pressed against the glass salivating at the sight of our favorite treat, it is only tears left behind as our parents grab our arms and pull us past. “No, not this time,” they say.
At least we have Songbird. Thank the racing Gods for Songbird, and this weekend we can all drool over her while we lick our wounds over Always Dreaming’s last out. (As an aside, has anyone else noticed how the birds literally ALL come out to sing every time she makes an appearance?)
So, with Classic Empire down and out for now, it’s another wide open field and once again my picks are as good as anybody’s. And although I find this field slightly less entertaining then the last two, who am I to miss an opportunity to throw my hat into the ring?
Number Five – J Boys Echo
Two simple reasons this horse makes the list. First, I find him as classy and handsome as New York itself. Second, Bobby Flay. Need I say more?
Number Four – Lookin at Lee
One of my favorites, and once again I just can’t stop looking at Lookin At Lee. If he manages to pull out a win in The Belmont he will be the closest thing we get to a Triple Crown Winner this year. The horse has run in all three legs and has looked mighty fine doing it! I say if he does win we throw a party and give him a blanket of flowers and all get drunk – just for the heck of it. This year’s Triple Crown run needs some excitement.
Number Three – Meantime
This horse is just too good to be true. It’s not his split times, or his impressive works (have there been any? I couldn’t tell you). Nope, it’s his frickin’ game face. This horse looks like he’s ready to take down the competition with his teeth. His name says it all; he looks just plain mean.
I find that, coupled with the fact that his jockey is Mike Smith who is possibly the nicest face in racing, both ironic and hilarious. I can’t wait to see that photo as they come down the stretch.
Number Two – Patch
He’s back! Everyone’s favorite one-eyed wonder is back and I’m starting to feel like this horse needs a serious dose of good luck – or a Priest, or Rabbi, Imam, Witch… something! The poor guy drew the outside post AGAIN, with the whole field on his inside – his blind side. That has to be the worst luck in the history of racing!
But, you can’t help but love his sideways glance and root for him to take home a win anyways.
Number One – Irish War Cry
There would be no better ending to this story then Rajiv Maragh‘s Belmont win on home turf. Period. I’m just in love with this great big Chestnut hunk (the horse…) and his awesome team.
We did it; we made it all the way through one of the most lackluster and unimpressive Triple Crown runs to date. And yet this year has made me appreciate our Triple Crown champions even more and I have some new favorites to follow. There’s always next year.
Happy racing! (Can we all get back to Arrogate now?)
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