New York, New York

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Oh people, it's the greatest time of the year.  The race for the Triple Crown.  Triple Crown race days are like Christmas and birthdays and Vegas all rolled into one.  The greatest days ever, for sure.  Now, being from a die-hard Kentucky Derby family, the three Triple Crown races are the top three items on my bucket list.  We do the Derby like most families do Thanksgiving...complete with hats and Derby food and an entire day dedicated to doing nothing but watching horse racing coverage.  We know all the celebrity trainers, owners, and jockeys of the horse racing world.  People think we are insane, but it's our favorite thing of all the things.

So when I moved to New York, literally my first thought that first June was that I could finally go to the Belmont Stakes.  It's on Long Island, just about 45 minutes from the city.  I've never been to any of the three Triple Crown races...until yesterday.  With two years of Saturday June classes down, I rounded up a few friends and boarded Long Island Rail Road for Belmont Park.  Oh yeah, and one of the friends I conveniently rounded up has a father who happens to work there.  Hello, preferred grandstand seating and clubhouse access.

I immediately found a facinator that I just adored.  Sadly, I did not adore the $245 price tag.  And the actual hats were $600.  Whoa dang.  Obviously, for the Kentucky Derby I will go more prepared.

Still, it was tons of fun with all the clubhouse perks, including a whole slew of New York City food trucks.  I went with the Mac Truck.  My friend's dad also kept bringing plates of snacks from the official work room.  Mmmmmm, perks...

I was so giddy the whole time.  There are at least a thousand more photos just like these...

The race just before the Belmont Stakes is the Woodford Reserve Manhattan.  Those horses run on the grass instead of the track.  Things were definitely starting to get interesting by Race 10.  Just one more to go...

Now, there were 11 races throughout the day, all leading up to the big Belmont Stakes at 6:36 p.m.  I only bet on one other race, and only because all the proceeds went to Oklahoma tornado relief.  How could I not take that bet?  Sadly, my horse came in fourth and needed to place third for me to cash in on that whopping $3 bet.  But, I bet $10 on Oxbow and $5 on Orb for the Stakes, and both won!  Walked away with $40.25...which is a good thing, since I'd spent all my money on souvenirs.  That $10 Oxbow bet was Just Matt's Belmont present, so now he's rich with $30.75.  Shoot dang!  Everyone else got "surprise" t-shirts. 

Right before the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes, the horse trumpet men play their little song.  Oh my goodness.  Never been so excited.  (Except for the other 10 times they played the song that day).  

And then came my next favorite part.  Everyone in the grandstand (which is longer than the Empire State Building is tall) stood up to sing New York, New York.  I might have been crying by that point.  

The horses parade from the paddock, make the final walk in front of the grandstand, warm up, and load into the gates...

And they're off!

"If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere, It's up to you, New York, New York."

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