The 10-Minute Bugle: Belmont Park
May 27, 2015 - garden totes
Belmont Park photos by Eclipse Sportswire
While it boasts architectural and chronological marvels during probably any corner, there’s a poignant component of New York City where duty trumps form. Subway cars, hot-dog carts, pizza joints, and Madison Square Garden — nothing of these iconic slices of a Apple are quite pretty. Same with Belmont Park; we wish crawl ties and buskers, conduct to Saratoga Race Course.
Dubbed “Big Sandy,” Belmont, like a capital to a evident west, blows we divided with size. Run during 1 1/2 miles (the accurate stretch of a huge mud track), a Belmont Stakes is not usually a longest leg of a Triple Crown, it’s a longest competition many of a 3-year-old participants will run in their careers, duration (unless they switch to turf). Like New York itself, it poses hurdles unequaled in America. But if one can conquer them, a booty that wait are equally unparalleled.
On Jun 6, American Pharoah (not Pharaoh!) will be a 13th Derby and Preakness leader given 1978 to take a moment during equine racing’s Triple Crown (not counting I’ll Have Another, who scratched a day before in 2012). The past 12 have failed, with Affirmed being a final of 11 to lift off a fugitive shawl trick.
Whether there’s a Triple Crown during interest has a surpassing impact on how many people uncover adult in chairman to declare a Belmont Stakes. Either way, a track’s “backyard” is certain to be packaged with picnickers in pastel shorts. While it’s some-more conspicuous during Saratoga, Belmont has a abounding tradition of racing fans profitable to enter a lane nonetheless never environment feet in a grandstand. A enigmatic energetic is during play here: While, as during many big-time sporting venues, food and beverages cost a flattering penny, New York marks concede fans to receptacle in their possess coolers of food and booze. Who needs a Heineken bottle when we can siphon down a half-rack of Natty Light for a same price?
If you’re committed to eating and celebration inside, a third-floor food justice offers a tasty behemoth called a Belmont Burger—if you’ve never surfaced a patty with pastrami, here’s your chance—for $10, while a good preference of breeze microbrews is accessible during a adjacent bar. On a second building lies a Knob Creek Saloon, which, on Belmont Stakes day, pours a healthy volume of Belmont Jewels (Knob Creek bourbon, lemonade and pomegranate juice).
When it comes to live racing, few marks have a good happening of holding as many marquee stakes races as Belmont. There are 5 Grade 1 races on a Belmont Stakes undercard alone, highlighted by a Ogden Phipps Stakes and Met Mile, while a Fourth of July’s Stars and Stripes day, a new further to a track’s calendar, draws top-flight unfamiliar horses with dual Grade 1 territory races (the Belmont Derby Invitational and Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes), as good as a Suburban Handicap and Dwyer Stakes. The Jockey Club Gold Cup, a pivotal Breeders’ Cup Classic precursor, is a prominence of a tumble meet, that runs from Sept. 11 to Nov. 1. (The spring/summer accommodate typically lasts from late Apr to mid-July.)
Where to Eat, Drink (Never) Sleep
New York hotels are notoriously expensive, creation it a ideal place to find out Airbnb or off-market camp options. But if we devise on winning big, a Lucerne on a Upper West Side will make we feel as yet we indeed live in a city, while a Carlyle on a Upper East Side has a cafeteria where Woody Allen’s Dixieland jazz rope gigs regularly, and a bar, Bemelmans, where we can slurp down Pisco Sours and tuna crudo while Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali inverse in front of cameras nearby, surrounded by dainty wall drawings combined by Ludwig Bemelman of “Madeline” fame.
In SoHo and a evident vicinity, Botanica Bar on Houston Street is a good subterranean watering hole that falls on a hipper side of divey, while Tom Jerry’s and Toad Hall are cold though entrance off as pretentious. Meanwhile, Greenwich Village (or, some-more accurately, a East and West “suburbs”) boasts 3 classics: a White Horse Tavern, McSorley’s and Corner Bistro. The initial of these, a hangout of famous writers that dates behind to 1880, is where a producer Dylan Thomas drank himself to genocide (please don’t follow his lead). The even-older McSorley’s, that didn’t acquire womanlike business until 1970, covers a floors in sawdust, serves a cheese platter with Saltines and tender onions and offers though dual forms of breeze beer, McSorley’s Light or McSorley’s Dark. At Corner Bistro, featured in a obvious part of “How we Met Your Mother” and one of a West Village’s final bastions of bohemia, a deliciously elementary burgers are a draw; a second plcae recently non-stop en lane to Belmont in Long Island City.
Dining options closer to a lane embody Italian throwbacks like King Umberto and Don Peppe. The latter is indeed closer to Aqueduct, while a former is within walking stretch of Belmont. Jameson’s, a sharp-witted Irish pub in Floral Park that serves a excellent image of Shepherd’s Pie, is also reachable around shoe leather. But simply strolling off Belmont’s large parking lot is a duty unto itself; suppose walking off JFK’s runway, and ensue in desolation.
As with Gulfstream Park, any East Coast tutor or manoeuvre value his or her salt typically competes during Belmont. While Nick Zito and his favorite rider, Edgar Prado, gained substantial prominence for hastily Smarty Jones’ Triple Crown dreams aboard Birdstone in a 2004 Belmont (drawing a record throng of over 120,139 to a track), their stars have faded a bit over a final decade, giving belligerent to brave saddlers such as Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown, as good as jockeys like John Velazquez, Javier Castellano, Irad Ortiz Jr., Cornelio Velasquez, Jose Ortiz, Jose Lezcano, and Joel Rosario. So, basically, if there’s a manoeuvre named Velasquez/Velazquez or Ortiz roving in a competition during Belmont, we have a decent possibility of cashing a ticket.
One needn’t be above ground, gaping during a Manhattan skyline, to get a penetrating clarity of how most grander a scale New York City operates on than any other American city. Both Grand Central and Penn Stations are like subterranean municipalities unto themselves, with hundreds of trains nearing and vacating during a given notation during any terminal. Avert your eyes from a ant-like overflow of people, and there are really transparent directional indicators for where to go; it’s not scarcely as intimidating as it seems, once we take a low breath.
Despite a region’s affinity for sight travel, Belmont has a large parking lot for what used to be good reason—it once was sincerely untouched by rail, solely for a special sight on Belmont Stakes day and a smattering of other jammed dates. But a Long Island Railroad’s Belmont Special, imagining from Penn Station (located directly underneath Madison Square Garden), was recently stretched to offer a lane on any day of a spring/summer meet, creation automotive transport an afterthought for anyone within distinguished stretch of Manhattan. If we opt to bound aboard, be certain to stop by a Blarney Rock for a pre-trip Guinness.
Just 8 miles from Belmont, in Queens proper, is a some-more workaday Aqueduct Racetrack, that hosts a pivotal Kentucky Derby prep in a Wood Memorial Stakes. Were it not for Eliot Spitzer’s sinful libido, however, a lane very expected would be rubble by now. The former administrator had designed to sell Aqueduct to real-estate developers (the state of New York owns all of a tracks), charting a deadly march identical to that that recently befell Hollywood Park. But afterwards Spitzer got destitute for condescending high-end prostitutes and quiescent from office, condemning his plan—which would have awarded a scarcely year-round line-up of dates to Belmont, as good as video gambling machines—to a predicament as dour as his domestic future.