High hopes for fast track for Belmont Stakes
NEW YORK (AP) - The rain is over and there's a decent chance Saturday's Belmont Stakes will be run over a fast racetrack.
Following a day of rain Friday into early Saturday morning in the New York area, the weather forecast is calling for partly sunny skies, winds up to 14 mph and temperatures in the high 70s.
Glen Kozak, the vice president of facilities and racing surfaces for the New York Racing Association, says he's "pretty confident we'll be wet-fast'' by the Belmont post time of 6:36 p.m., and "if we get real lucky we'll be fast.''
A wet-fast track means the racing surface will still have moisture in the dirt. If the track is sealed before the race, the surface will look slick; if it's harrowed, it won't.
With post time for the first race 11:30 a.m., the main track is listed muddy and the turf course yielding.
Of the five turf races on the program, only one - the third race - has been moved to the main track.
MUDDERS: The 2011 Belmont was the most recent to be run over a sloppy track, and it produced a 24-1 long shot winner in Rule On Ice.
Like this Belmont, the `11 race featured the Kentucky Derby winner (Animal Kingdom) and the Preakness winner (Shackleford). The Preakness winner ran fifth, the Derby winner sixth.
Derby winner Orb was the early 3-1 favorite for Saturday's 145th Belmont, with Preakness winner Oxbow the 5-1 third choice.