Belmont Day Thoughts

Yesterday's Belmont, as you all know by now, went to Arkansas Derby winner Creator. Exaggerator, the 7-5 chalk, faltered after a wide trip and was no threat.

Creator earned a 120 TimeformUS figure for his effort. Destin, a nose back, earned a 121.

Creator, not-coincidentally, was the horse the 'rabbit' (Gettysburg) was entered for, in a bit of old-time horse racing skullduggery. Not soon after the race, Gettysburg was transferred back into the barn of the original trainer; the trainer who noted he would not get 12 furlongs. Then later on, apparently Toddster told them to take a hike.

While that all happened, the sport yawned with its favorite line - "it's part of the game" - while the rest of the world looked on wondering what kind of insider game they're up against when they lay down their $2.

Creator's rider - Irad Ortiz Jr. - gave the big grey a masterful trip, saving every inch of ground like a real pro. It likely made the difference because Destin was iron tough. Lani, closing from Japan, made a good impression. As did the hard luck rail horse, who was bounced around like a pinball.

Now, to some notes:

Frosted chose the Met Mile as his first race back from Dubai and as usual with Dubai shippers, ran a major clunker  absolutely throttled the competition with a 135 TimeformUS figure. I have no idea what KM does or did with his horses coming back from Dubai, but all of them have made an amazing account of themselves. Fat, happy horses. Frosted was in a world of his own, against some nice horses.

Exaggerator, to me, looked a little soft in the post parade; like the schedule got to him a bit. I don't know if my eyes were deceiving me or not, but if he was worn down, it's more evidence on how amazing the constitution of American Pharoah was.

A sportswriter calls Belmont Day 12 hours of hell.  Insiders might say such people should venture out on the grounds and learn about the sport, looking for stories they understand better. But when a personality does that, they get flamed on twitter. You can't really win.

It's being reported that Belmont TV overnights were about 1/3rd last years, not surprisingly. However, in 2009, one year after Big Brown's Triple Crown try, they were only cut in half. It'll be interesting to see the numbers when they are officially released. (update here)

Overall handle was down 37%. From what I see, apples to apples, this is not a great number, when all things are considered. But there are arguments to be made. Take a look at Crunk's sheet, which shows some numbers.

From the same sheet - handle outside Belmont yesterday was down 22.2%. A Triple try brings folks out who may have not come out without one.

Per capita Belmont day figures bounce around - probably indicative that we can't really trust reported attendance numbers in the sport - but yesterday they came in-line at around $183. That's a lot. A track like Canterbury, who is trying to cultivate a fan base to become bettors, has about $30 a customer. It's a little better this year with the lower juice.

If you would've told me two months ago, the day with the biggest handle wins from Triple Crown 2016 would be wet, soggy Pimlico, with no real stars on the card, I would've been surprised. But it was. I think Magna (or whatever we're calling them now) has improved their distribution over the past year or so.

Flintshire -- too good for those.

There were bounces this past weekend, then there was the horse everyone predicted to bounce like a big beach ball -- Sharp Azteca -- who raced well. Go figure.

Have a nice Monday everyone.

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