It took 25 years and a Triple Crown threat to get me to Belmont Park, but earlier today I made the two and a half hour trek down to Long Island to begin a weekend's worth of coverage as California Chrome races for his sports first Triple Crown in 36 years.

Here's what I took from today:

  1. Anyone who crosses a bridge near New York City is out of their mind. I paid $7.50 for three minutes on the Throggs Neck Bridge.  $7.50! I can get half a beer for that at Yankee Stadium.
  2. Belmont Park is huge.  Having lived my racing life in the cozy confines of Saratoga, I cannot understate, nor can you possibly understand, how large "Big Sandy" is. The concourses, the track, everything.
  3. Belmont Park is gorgeous.  In a different way than Saratoga, certainly, but gorgeous nonetheless with the clubhouse's brick facing covered in ivy.
  4. Belmont Park is dead.  At least it is on a Thursday afternoon with no races of significance.
  5. Belmont Park won't be on Saturday.  The number you hear thrown around most often with regard to the expected attendance for California Chrome's attempt at history is 120 thousand - and some in the press box think that's conservative.
  6. We need to stop complaining about traffic on the Northway.

...The ride to my hotel sucked.