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Monday, June 13, 2011

Belmont Bejesus: The Day in Pictures

Belmont Surprise: Ruler On Ice in the Post Parade
As in I got the bejesus knocked out of my advance deposit wagering account on Saturday. It wasn't quite the bloodbath of 2010 when no tickets were cashed, but we just didn't have our mojo going this year.

But the day was terrific and we only lost our limit, the house is safe and the kids' education funds are still in tact.

The Space Gal and I arrived at Belmont Park early in the morning after navigating with a GPS that just didn't want to take us over the George Washington Bridge.She decided to be my star photographer for the day and she did a pretty awesome job capturing the moment in the backyard, in the paddock and on the track. I was busy live blogging for The Buffalo News and writing a post-race commentary for the Sunday print edition.

Her adventures started by trying to search out the Beefcake Calendar jockey signing (scheduled for 10:30 a.m.) and after asking several folks she tracked them down (picture proof below). They were very cordial to her and when she asked Edgar Prado where she could get a PDJF (Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund) hat like the one he was wearing, he offered it to her right then and there. Of course, Johnny V jumped in and said "It's for sale, for 35 bucks!" She obliged and I had my early Father's Day present, after getting it signed by those two, Ramon and Javier Castellano (the Space Gal's personal favorite jock). She asked Johnny V if he reads our blogs and he replied...."Nah...sometimes those bloggers... they get silly." Good stuff and they all signed her beefcake calendar for charity. Mission accomplished.

Since she was flying solo much of the day she would randomly run into half-famous people. Like John DaSilva's (NY Post handicapper) college roommate Paul, Castellano's Saratoga bodyguard Leroy (after the Borel incident, he's obviously not taking any chances) and well, some other notable racing bloggers like Joe DePaoloDerek Brown and Alan Heitner.

We also stumped Ernie once and answered one of two questions. Of course she burned the $2 on Prime Cut. She asked me all day long why Zito didn't have any horses running (another of her favorites) and that it had to be some type of conspiracy. She continued to question it on the ride home on Sunday, I just couldn't provide a good answer. Leroy told her it was highly suspicious, so she's not letting it go.

I'm telling you about her day because mine just wasn't as exciting. She offered some suggestions on how to improve the day like "maybe the grandstand shouldn't smell like an armpit" and "fixing up the ladies bathrooms would make some sense, no women would want to come back to those." She said she had a moment of irony when she realized she was sipping champagne out of a plastic cup several feet from a pile of horse manure. Sport of Kings, huh?

Back to the handicapping front...I did have 31-1 Bim Bam across the board in the Manhattan, but my joint Pick-4 tickets with DePaolo went up in flames with Gio Ponti's hard luck trip after capturing the first two legs. I was done at the break with my top two horses, Animal Kingdom and Master of Hounds. Only Brilliant Speed held up in my selections and for a moment I thought he was in a great spot in the stretch in the middle of a muddy track. But the wheels just spun and the winner wasn't going to let anyone past.

Here's a look at the day in pictures, with some color commentary (of course)....

Johnny V and Ramon D sign
the Beefcake Calendar for the Space Gal

Javier - Mr. February

My Father's Day Gift

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

This fellow was from Horseheads, New York

The Lederhosen Nine

Turbulent Descent, Money Burner

It's Tricky - Money Maker

Gate Break - Manhattan Handicap

Stay Thirsty & The Toddster

Ruler on Ice, Validivia & Breen

Brilliant Speed


Down The Stretch They Come

That's a wrap for Triple Crown Season 2011.Wild.Wacky.Fun.Can't wait 'til next year...


Alan H. said...

It was great seeing you and the Mrs. again. I hope to see you at Saratoga this summer. And then, of course, Churchill for the BC.

Valerie Grash said...

Considering their choice of headgear, I seriously hope those Lederhosen guys had money on Ruler On Ice! :-)

Ernie said...

I was fired from the Lederhosen Nine. Then I didn't use Jose in in the Manhattan and it cost me, Geno, it cost me hugely.

You got some serious photo memories there.

Keep up the excellent dreamwork.


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