Here & There: Belmont week

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It’s Belmont Stakes week and it’s all California Chrome all the time.

We’ve got some tidying up and plenty of stuff from Wednesday’s Belmont Stakes post-position draw. We’ll tackle the Belmont and it’s spectacular undercard first. Then we’ll wrap last weekend’s Big Apple Showcase, where ST Publishing rolled out the inaugural Showcase Special. And we’ve got a few other bits and pieces from the world of racing.

Worth Repeating

“It’s going to be a jockeys’ race anyhow.” – Trainer Art Sherman after California Chrome drew post No. 2 for the Belmont Stakes

“Secretariat was No. 5 in the Derby, No. 3 in the Preakness and No. 2 in the Belmont.” – Assistant trainer Alan Sherman after California Chrome drew post No. 2 in the Belmont. Yes, California Chrome also started the Derby from post 5 and the Preakness from post 3

“I wish every horse owner out there could have a horse like this. He’s like one in a bazillion. He could have been born to anybody and he was born to us.” – Steve Coburn, co-owner with Perry Martin of California Chrome

“He is America’s horse because we’ve got the entire country if not the entire world behind us.” – Coburn

“I like No. 2. Hopefully it’s my lucky number.” – Jockey Victor Espinoza

“Yeah, might as well.” – Trainer Billy Gowan when asked if he’d be at Saratoga this summer

“At least he’s got two horses shielding him from the crowd.” – Jimmy Jerkens on Wicked Strong’s draw

“The Peter Pan’s been a good prep for the Belmont over the years.” – Todd Pletcher, who runs Peter Pan runner-up Commission and Peter Pan fourth Matterhorn in the Belmont

“I’m excited about the race whether I was in it or not.” – Pletcher on the Belmont Stakes

“It’s only been the TVG Acorn for the last 73 years.” – NYRA analyst Andy Serling prior to announcing draw for 84th running of the Grade 1 Acorn

“Nervous might be a better word.” – Hall of Famer Richard Mandella when asked if he was excited about running Beholder against Princess of Sylmar in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps

“It would have been my 13th choice as far as post positions.” – Pletcher on Palice Malice drawing the rail for the Metropolitan Handicap

“Saratoga can’t be far away.” – Trainer Mike Hushion as he got his first look at a stack of Showcase Special papers

“Why can’t horse racing come up with something like this?” – Tim Molloy, soaking in the scene with 26,000 others for the U.S. men’s national soccer team’s game versus Turkey Sunday at Red Bulls Stadium

“I literally graduated the Wednesday before I went to Nashville. We won with Fortune that Saturday and a week later we won the Dixie. It was pretty freaking cool.” – Keri Brion, 2014 graduate of West Chester University and assistant to Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard on the stable’s run that included Divine Fortune’s win in the Iroquois and Utley’s win in the Dixie

“Talk about doing it all.” – Turf writer Tom Pedulla to Tom Law, handing out copies of The Showcase Special outside grandstand entrance at Belmont Park last weekend

“That’s not always the news I want to deliver when I see Sean, ‘hey, I’ve got a jumper for you.’ ” – Trainer Chad Brown

“Hey, special edition. Cool.” – Trainer Dominick Schettino

“Tell him we don’t need him, we’ve got you.” – Trainer Carl Domino to Tom Law when told Sean Clancy might make the trip to Belmont for the Big Apple Showcase

“It’s all machines now, but it used to be people.” – Father to his son walking past row of mutual windows at Belmont Park the morning of California Chrome’s pre-Belmont Stakes workout

“Yeah, but it’s easier.” – Son

“Sure it’s easier, but it takes away a little of the personality, don’t you think?” – Father

“He hasn’t run again since so you’re alright.” – Brion to reporter calling to talk about Utley’s Dixie Stakes win more than two weeks earlier


By the Numbers

5: People handing out inaugural edition of The Showcase Special Saturday outside the grandstand and clubhouse gates at Belmont Park

10: Opponents California Chrome will have to beat to win the Triple Crown

600: Pounds of papers Tom Law picked up in Albany last Friday afternoon

5,985: Attendance at the Big Apple Showcase. We expect a few more this Saturday.