LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — You never know what you will find when you scroll the website of the New York Post sports section.
There are the expected stories about the Major League Baseball negotiations, the Knicks’ coaching search and the resumption of the NBA season.
There is a column about how a classic Frank Sinatra piece became The Song of Yankee Stadium.
There is the typical New York Post click bait about Super Bowl quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his girlfriend as well as another story headline about a “racing prodigy turned porn star.”
Anything else on the New York City calendar this weekend?
At 5:37 Saturday afternoon, 10 of the best 3-year-old horses in America will assemble to run the Belmont Stakes, which will go off before the Kentucky Derby and Preakness for the first time in the history of the Triple Crown.
Without Bob Baffert, the game’s most celebrated trainer.
Without Mike Smith, the game’s best big race jockey.
Without Nadal, Charlatan, Maxfield, Honor A.P., Storm the Court and other runners that had their owners, trainers and jockeys hyperventilating before the Triple Crown calendar got scrambled in March by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
And, do not forget this, the Belmont will run without fans in a mammoth facility that has space for more than 100,000 people.
It will also be run at 1 1/8 miles, a distance 3/8 of a mile shorter than it was supposed be run June 6 on the original calendar.
Got all that?
Well, get this: One Belmont prop bet concerns the winning jockey but not the winning horse.
Will the winning jockey wear a protective mask that covers his mouth during his post-Belmont television interview?
It’s a 50-50 proposition. You have to bet $115 to win $100 if you pick mask or no mask. The Beyer Speed Figures can’t help you.
There is another prop bet that matches the time of the Belmont winner against the time of the quickest MMA bout on the Saturday night card.
Roll with it. Have fun with it. Think about these eight words that I have never typed in this order:
The Belmont is a Kentucky Derby prep race.
We’re more than three months into a generally barren sports calendar.
People have been begging for action — and programming. Let’s see what the Belmont can do to stir a television audience.
Let’s learn something before we get to the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5 and the Preakness on Oct. 3, events that will (or probably will) have to elbow college football out of the way for attention.
Race caller Larry Colmus will work from the Belmont grandstand — with plenty of room to spread out.
NBC host Mike Tirico and horse racing analyst Randy Moss will work from studios in Stamford, Conn. Two others NBC commentators, Britney Eurton and Lexington’s Kenny Rice, will roam the broad, leafy Belmont grounds with six-foot boom microphones.
They will not be the only ones with microphones. NBC plans to attach mics to three jockeys, a necessity as television producers experiment in a world without crowd noise.
Stories? There are certainly stories with appeal.
Will Tiz The Law run like the thunderous colt who won the Florida Derby and positioned himself as the 6-5 Belmont favorite?
He is the only Grade I stakes winner in the 10-horse field.
Will Barclay Tagg, his 82-year-old taciturn trainer, finally get the Belmont that eluded him in 2003 after he won the Derby and Preakness with Funny Cide?
Linda Rice trains Max Player, a solid contender listed at 15-1 in the morning line. Will she become the first female to train the winner of any Triple Crown race?
“It would be great to win a Belmont or any Triple Crown race,” Rice told Brian Bohl of the New York Racing Association.
“They just haven’t given women enough time yet,” Rice said to Beth Harris of the Associated Press, a quip Harris described as a joke.
Without Baffert, D.Wayne Lukas, Shug McGaughey or Nick Zito, Hall of Famers Bill Mott, Steve Asmussen and Todd Pletcher will serve as the star power, training half the field.
Mark Casse, the latest Hall of Famer, will try to become the first trainer to win back-to-back Belmonts in 24 years with Tap It To Win, listed 6-1 in the early odds.
Even the Kentucky Derby is in play in the anything goes world of prop bets. According to an email from William Hill Sports Book, there are at least two more prop wagers:
You can bet on whether the Belmont winner will also finish first at the Kentucky Derby, with “NO” priced at 1/8 and “YES” at 11/2.
There is also a bet for whether there will be a Triple Crown winner in 2020, “NO” is a 1/12 favorite with “YES” at 15/2.
Put me down for Tiz The Law in the Belmont but not in the Derby or Triple Crown — with a saver bet that the winning jockey will NOT wear a mask for his TV interview.
Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.