Posts Tagged ‘Horse Racing’

The History of Belmont Park racetrack

April 23, 2010

As the 1978 Belmont Stakes began everyone’s eyes were on the two thoroughbreds that make up one of the greatest rivalries in the history of horse racing: Affirmed and Alydar.
The race was held at Belmont Park, third and final leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown. Affirmed had won two legs with Alydar finishing second in Triple Crown Race.

No horse has been able to win a Triple Crown in nearly 32 years since Affirmed’s classic win. Since 1978, eleven horses have entered the race and failed after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

In 1905, Belmont Park, hosted the Belmont Stakes for the first time. Prior to it the race was held at Jerome Park (1867-1889) and Morris Park (1890-1904). August Belmont, Sr., financed the first race, after whom the race and park was named.

At 1.5 miles, Belmont Park features the largest dirt track in thoroughbred racing.

At that distance many 3-year-olds have never raced before. This results in races which yield surprises at a more consistent rate than the other two Triple Crown races.

In 1973, by a record 31 lengths, in 2:24.00, Secretariat finished his Triple Crown bid by winning the Belmont Stakes, still a race record.

In 1975, the race between Ruffian and Foolish Pleasure was deemed “Equine Battle of the Sexes”. In the race, Ruffian’s leg snapped and eventually was euthanized and buried in Belmont Park’s infield.

To see if Smarty Jones would be the first Triple Crown winner in 26 years, in 2004, a crowd of 120,139 packed into Belmont Park. Birdstone won by 36-1 long shot, with Smarty Jones finishing second.

In its 105-year history, Belmont Park has been the subject of reconstruction. While the Park was rebuilt, the Belmont Stakes was held at nearby Aqueduct Racetrack from 1963-1967.

Scenario of Tempted to Tapit: Steve Klesaris

April 8, 2010

It would be the first horse trained by Steve Klesaris to do so if Tempted to Tapit starts in the Kentucky Derby on May 1. When gray gelding won at Aqueduct by 11 ½ lengths, he became a Derby hopeful on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Tapit, winner of the Grade 1 Wood Memorial and ninth-place finisher at the Kentucky Derby sired the horse. Tempting Note, a mare of 1996 Belmont Stakes winner Editor’s Note keeps him out. He was purchased for $18,000 by Midway Stable at the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale.

A multi-generational family involved with horse racing also belongs to Klesaris. Before becoming a jokey’s agent his brother Robert was a trainer and his father Peter Klesaris is also a trainer. He saddled his first winner when he was 18 at Suffolk Downs in 1978.
Three starts have been made by Tempted to Tapit as a juvenile. Second place in two of those races have been finished by him. Klesaris stated that the difference between his second-place finishes and his January 18 first-place finish was that he maintained his focus throughout the race.

Third in the Grade III $800,000 Sunland Park Derby last Sunday in New Mexico was finished by him. Second in the Grade III Risen Star at Fair Grounds was Tempted to Tapit in his first stake in February.

Tempted to Tapit is not among the top 20 3-year olds with at least six Derby prep horse betting races to be run in the next two weeks. Currently 27th in earnings with $156,000 is Tempted to Tapit. As a result, he will most likely not be contending for the Kentucky Derby.