|Third Time is Not a Charm|
|June 8, 1997|
This past Saturday was perhaps the biggest race of the year in the majestic sport of horse racing. Only 23 other horses have come into the Belmont Stakes, the third leg in thoroughbred racing's famed Triple Crown, which a chance to win the coveted Crown, and only eleven got the job done. This year all the spotlight of the racing world was on Silver Charm, who came to Belmont the winner of both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, and who had a once in a lifetime shot at the Triple Crown. Unfortunately he choked, and he blew it. But I was there at Belmont Park, during the cool, overcast Saturday afternoon, to witness firsthand the almost-historic event. So thus I'm going to take you from your computer screen back to the racetrack for this week's Whack. Once again, I would have to greatly disagree with the guy who said that getting there is half the fun. That's a bunch of bullshit. Getting there sucks. All the fun is in being there. Let's not try and kid ourselves. We happened to get t, maybe it's just me, but I've been to Penn Station a bunch of time, and it seems every time I go into a bathroom there, there is some guy shaving at one of the sinks. For all I know it could be the same guy all the time. And the guy is obviously homeless. Why else would you choose a bathroom in Penn Station to complete your morning routine? It's like, "Well I don't have time to brush my teeth or trim my nose hair, so I guess I'll just hto wait until I get to Penn Station, one of the busiest train stations in the world." And why is a homeless guy so concerned about shaving anyway? Does someone who is homeless really care that much about how he looks? Is some guy going to walk by him and say, "Look it that homeless guy, he's got some stubble, has he no decency?"? Or maybe he was just trying to look good for singles night at the homeless shelter. I can just imagine him begging for money. "Can you spare some change? I need some more disposable razors and I'm all out of shaving gel." But enough about homeless people, let's discuss the type of people you find at the Belmont Stakes. Well first you got your really rich people who own like all the horses and jockeys and stuff. But unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, you don't get to see these people because they are off in their private section. You won't find some big shot stable owner in the general admission section betting two dollar exactas and buying five dollacoolers full with beverages. Most places don't allow coolers so you're stuck paying inflated prices at the refreshment stands. But it makes sense, since it all even outs in the end. You figure people drink a lot, they get drunk, and then they make stupid bets and lose even more money than they would have spent buying beer. The only thing was that on the train ride home we were stuck with a bunch of drunk people who just got done losing hundreds of dollars at the track. Not exactly a safe mix. The last group of people at Belmont that I want to discuss is the children. There actually were a lot of kids running around at the Belmont Stakes. What parents in their right mind would bring their kids to a place as seedy as a racetrack? You don't want to encourage that kind of thing, you just have to let them discover it on their own like I did. And you can just tell that these kids are going to grow up to be a bunch of punks. I saw this one kid, he couldn't have been no older than ten, and he had his own beeper? What does someone who is ten need his own beeper for? Is it just in case he is on the road riding his bike and his friends need to get in touch with him and let him know about the big kickball game at Jimmy's house? It's nuts, and the people at Belmont actually encourage parents to bring their kids to the track. Every Sunday is "Family Fun Days" at Belmont park. They actually use the slogan, "Your best BET for family fun!" That's just sick. And some of the stuff included on Family Fun Days include: breakfast at Belmont, pony rides, costumed characters, face painting, and a state-of-the-art playground in the "Belmont Park Family Center." Sure the kids are having a grand old time, but meanwhile their parents are getting pissed drunk and betting their college savings on a pony. Finally, I think I got to sole reason we were there, the actual Belmont Stakes race. The Belmont was actually the ninth race out of eleven. And of course they really built it up. They played the national anthem, there were paratroopers flying down holding the American flag, and they had some Broadway star singing New York, New York. It was great. But then in a little over two minutes the whole thing is over. The horse that nearly eighty thousand people came out to see win the Triple Crown lost by half a length. But it was wasn't its fault. My friend told my the next day that Gary Stevens, the jockey of Silver Charm, had a knee injury. Personally I still don't understand how that could have effected the outcome of the race. Maybe if the horse had a knee problem, that would explain things. Or even if it was the jockey who was the one running in the race with his bad knee, then I would definitely understand why he lost. But how does a bad knee hinder your ability to sit on the back of a horse and make it run fast? I guess I'll just never understand thoroughbred racing. I'll have to just stick with harness. Well I think post time is over for this Whack, so to conclude for this week, chicks dig a clean-shaven bum; it's hard to pick a horse sober, let alone drunk; and children and racetracks definitely don't mix.
Now for this week's very special feature, Feff's top ten favorite Triple Crown winners, or cities in Nebraska:
10. Affirmed 9. Wahoo 8. Sir Barton 7. Beatrice 6. Citation 5. Columbus 4. Seattle Slew 3. Lincoln 2. Secretariat 1. Omaha