ESPN Horse Racing

Only two outcomes possible in Belmont
By Jay Cronley
Special to

Pick one of the following:

Scenario A
ELMONT, N.Y. - New York native Funny Cide, son of an Oklahoma-bred mare who couldn't run all that fast, a mare who died earlier in the year of colic, won the Belmont States and the 2003 Triple Crown here today by 10 lengths.

All the jockey had in his hand at the wire was a wave.

A record crowd of 105,000 was in attendance, with many of them yelling as Funny Cide broke from the starting gate, "Youse the horse!"

The first Triple Crown winner in 25 years is expected to benefit horse racing on several levels.

One, you can count on more people splitting a pitcher of beer and then going in together to buy a race horse.

Two, interest and attendance will be boosted as the horse continues to race. For a period of time, the word "fixed" will not bring the cops to the race track.

Funny Cide has been fixed, the tactful way of saying gelded.

Funny Cide was the odds-on favorite.

Many people planned to keep $2 win tickets on the Triple Crown champion as souvenirs, pleasing Belmont Park officials a great deal.

Empire Maker did not run second.

Scenario B
ELMONT, N. Y. - Empire Marker beat Funny Cide by a fast foot here today in the Belmont Stakes as disappointed railbirds yelled at the connections of the runner-up and called for them to get their heads out.

Many felt that Funny Cide left his best game on the practice field, working 47 and change for five furlongs Tuesday, something like what the winner of LeMans might do.

According to sources close to the sport of horse racing, the best time to run as fast as you can is when you're getting paid for it.

The Exacta was $10, not all that bad.

Many think that horse race tracks across the country should immediately lower their flags to half-mast because the lack of a Triple Crown winner will greatly damage the sport.

It is thought that lifers, 10-year regulars at Oaklawn and 20-year regulars at Rockingham, and 12-year regulars at Evangeline, and 25-year regulars at Laurel, will all be so disappointed with the absence of a Triple Crown winner that they will throw down their Forms and take up gardening and needlepoint.

The fact of the matter is that the regulars are too busy studying a good-looking $5,000 maiden claiming race on tomorrow's card to be too upset.

Belmont Bets
Value seekers will have their work cut out here.

A value-seeker is somebody betting inherited money, or money that otherwise came too easily.

The way we look at it out here in the heartland is all winners have tremendous value.

Had the post been a few hours later, this could have regressed into a match race.

I will be taking tickets on variations of both basic scenarios mentioned above: In Exactas, Funny Cide over Dynever and Ten Most Wanted; Empire Maker over Funny Cide.

This flies in the face of convention, always a reasonable goal.