The Belmont sort of snuck up on me. Between the NBA Finals and the hoopla over the World Cup, the third leg in the Triple Crown has kind of become an afterthought the past couple of weeks. The confluence of big events hurts, but most punishing is the fact that there's no one actually going for the Triple Crown. In fact, Derby winner Super Saver and Preakness champ Lookin At Lucky are sitting out the New York jewel.
It's too bad, because the lack of buzz around Belmont couldn't have come at a worse time for thoroughbred racing in the Empire State. The New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation is in bankruptcy. And it took the passage, in late May, of a $25 million bailout bill from the New York state legislature to keep the New York Racing Association -- which runs Belmont, Saratoga and Aqueduct -- alive. With the Preakness getting a last-minute save to stay afloat recently as well, you have to wonder if there will be a Triple Crown winner again before the entire event fades away.
That bums me out. And it tugs at the heartstrings of the blog's horse racing guru, Lane Gold, who graciously laid out the wise-guy horses for both the Derby and the Preakness. (He does it for the Belmont below.)