And so we bid farewell to the last of the 3-year-olds who ran really fast in California -- Goldencents, Governor Charlie and the rest -- the horses who thrived in those five- and six-horse fields in Los Angeles, the speed merchants who looked unbeatable at room temperature.
The closest to California that any of the Belmont runners has been is what, Remington Park in Oklahoma City?
Saturday's New York race is one of those classic betting races, which means pretty much the opposite -- that it is a guessing race. To my mind, a betting race is a 1-1 shot that can't lose. But for some reason, a betting race has come to signify a race that is hard to pick and is apt to pay lots of dollars to the luckiest handicappers. Three things make the Belmont shape up as a great race that's hard to pick. First of all, five horses look about the same on paper, maybe six, maybe seven. Secondly, the distance is a mile and a half, which is a pretty long bicycle ride. And third, the lousy weather is predicted to be lousy again, with rain likely. Rain turns everything inside out and upside down simultaneously and often favors extremes.
Here's the field by post position.
1. Frac Daddy (30-1): He has won a grand total of one.
2. Freedom Child (8-1): A rain dance worked before; but don't forget he lost a maiden race in the slop.
3. Overanalyze (12-1): He has displayed an on/off pattern through eight races; on should be up next.
4. Giant Finish (30-1): Is barely raced.
5. Orb (3-1): Rail-roaded in Baltimore?
6. Incognito (20-1): His name works here.
7. Oxbow (5-1): Won't have room to roam.
8. Midnight Taboo (30-1): Has the worst best Beyer figure in the field.
9. Revolutionary (9-2): Breaks like a donkey.
10. Will Take Charge (20-1): Misses the sticks.
11. Vyjack (20-1): Was all wet in the Kentucky Derby.
12. Palace Malace (15-1): The trendy pick for some reason, matches Frac Daddy's win total of one maiden race.
13. Unlimited Budget (8-1): Her ownership, Repole Stable, has Belmont fever.
14. Golden Soul (10-1): Later than late.