Saturday will be the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of horse racing's jewel, the Triple Crown. As the anticipation builds for fans to watch Forte battle Tapid Trice and National Treasure this weekend, the attention of many in the horse racing community has already begun to look north to Saratoga, horse racing's summer home.
He played played his college basketball at a Division II school, Virginia Union. Yet he was a first-round draft pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1985. The man that they called "Oak Tree" played 19 seasons in the NBA. Ten of those years were played in Madison Square Garden for the New York Knicks. His name was synonymous with Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Anthony Mason and Doc Rivers from those tough mid-1990's teams.
The Belmont Stakes will run on June 11th and tickets will go on sale this Thursday at 10 a.m. You can purchase tickets on Ticketmaster.com. Attendance will be limited to 50,000 fans instead of the pre-COVID-19 pandemic capacity of 90,000. Highlighted by the 154th running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, the oldest and most challenging track of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will begin on Thursday, June 9th.
If you love summer fun, well then Saratoga is certainly the place to be. When you want to live a Saratoga weekend to the fullest, well this is the weekend for you! This weekend the SPA City will feature a dozen of the best horse racing stakes races in the world at Saratoga Race Course on Friday and Saturday, while SPAC will feature two legendary rock bands, or versions thereof, with Dead & Co. Friday night and Lynard Skynard on Saturday night. It should be fun.
As you get deeper into August, the weekends get bigger at Saratoga Race Course. This weekend is no exception. Friday looks to be a terrific day at the Spa highlighted by the 8th running of the Tale of The Cat handicap. Saturday will feature two big stakes races, the 116th running of the Saratoga Special and the main event on Saturday, the Fourstardave Handicap. Chad Brown's Raging Bull will be the horse to beat in that one and Sunday is the first giveaway of the year featuring the Saratoga Cooler Bag. Giveaways are limited, so come early.
This afternoon as I passed through the thousands of fans that came out to enjoy the first Friday of racing season in the Spa City, many come year after year. The UAlbany Alumni Association held their annual outing. Hundreds were adorned in purple and gold ready to make their bets and enjoy the spectacular weather and an amazing card of top horse racing, highlighted by the 9th race, the Forbidden Apple Stakes.
But what makes Saratoga Race Course so special? Is it the lure for some to step back in time with men and women attending a sporting event dressed in their most fashionable summer clothing? Or is the opportunity to stake your claim to a few picnic tables and room for your pop up tent inside one of the sports world's national treasures. It's probably some of that plus the beauty of the well cared for historic structure but maybe it's the ghosts that lie within the walls or on the track, that brings people back year after year.