- NYRA’s VP Bill Nader is looking for a crowd of 75,000 or higher for the June 11 Belmont Stakes.
NYRA's advertising will focus on the Giacomo vs. Afleet Alex rivalry as well as the incident in the Preakness when Scrappy T nearly knocked Afleet Alex to the ground. "That image," Nader said, "the athleticism and acrobatic response the horse and rider had is something that's been played and played and played, and casual fans are blown away by the accomplishment. We're pushing that hard."That easily has to be the only positive attendance trend at the downstate NYRA tracks at the very least. We’ll see what effect the increased admission prices will have. One of the main hooks in their advertising always was to stress that you could have all this excitement for just two bucks, five for the clubhouse. Still, the ten bucks is much less than Derby or Preakness fans pay....which of course leaves room for further increases to come in NY.
America's oldest classic, scheduled for its 137th running, has come a long way in the last 10 years. If this year's crowd totals 75,000 it will double the attendance from 1995 and exceed the number who watched Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed win Triple Crowns in the 1970s. [Bloodhorse]
- Pico Central is back in training after taking some time off after his trip to Dubai. He worked 4f in a leisurely 53.20, perhaps depressed by the arrest of his owner Gary Tanaka.
- John Sheriffs will breeze his colt for a final time on Sunday, and ship the son of Holy Bull to Belmont on Wednesday or Thursday of race week. [Bloodhorse]
- Thoroughbred Times reports that Ken Ramsey will enter a maiden named Nolan’s Cove in the Belmont. He’s also a maiden who’s not even 100%.
"He has a bit of a stifle problem and we’re treating him for it, but at this point it looks like we’re going," Ramsey said. "He got out a little bit coming down the stretch [of the workout], so we had the veterinarians go over him with a fine tooth comb and they said he had a little stifle, and they thought they could work through that. If they can, we’re going." [Thoroughbred Times]And is Bob Baffert really going to enter Sort It Out?
- This creepy video of the creepy man nominated to be ambassador to the U.N. is all over the progressive blogosphere today and linked here via Huffington Post. It shows in pretty clear terms why everything else - his abusive and vindictive treatment of those who disagree with him; his apparent lies under oath during his Senate testimony; the stubborn refusal by a White House that just will not back down to provide information requested by Senate Democrats and some Republicans as well - is really beside the point. Right here on this blog I linked to this article in the New Yorker which stated the case against Bolton long before any of the other issues surfaced. As always, Steve Clemons has the latest on what will transpire once the Senate reconvenes next week.