The hot weather was certainly one of the highlights of the 2016 Belmont Stakes, hosted earlier this year on Saturday June 11 in Elmont, NY. And although it didn’t agree with some of the horses there were many that appeared to enjoy the cooling water showers they received. Spectators enjoyed the sunshine though, as they watched a very exciting finish to the race.
Last year all the excited chatter was around American Pharoah, the horse that went into the race with the prospect of securing the Triple Crown. Of course, the now retired champion went on to be successful in its quest. This year there were a few popular topics before the big race, such as how much would Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist be missed and how much difference would the entry of pace setter Gettysburg make?
Preakness Stakes victor started as favorite
Whether wagering online at My Winners, or taking a chance at the track, most money went on Exaggerator; the horse that was victorious at the Preakness Stakes. This was in the absence of Nyquist, due to a low white blood cell count and a fever. In the early stages of the race it looked as though the confidence in the pre-race favorite was justified but Exaggerator eventually trailed off to finish in an unimpressive eleventh place in a thirteen horse field. This left the way open for others to break through.
The rise of Creator
Steve Asmussen trained Creator did not look that likely to set the course alight following a thirteenth place finish in the Kentucky Derby. The horse missed the Preakness Stakes and was accompanied in this race by another WinStar Frams owned horse, Gettysburg. Many saw the inclusion of Gettysburg in the race as an obvious pace setting ploy by the owners, and it seemed to work. Although the horse itself trailed off it brought several horses along, including Creator.
The excitement of a photo finish
Destin and Creator eventually went out on their own towards the end of the race, with the former desperately trying to hold on to the lead. That was not going to happen though, and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. rode three-year-old colt Creator to victory in a time of 2:28.51. It’s only the fourth time in the history of the 1.5-mile race that it’s been won by a nose; a decision reached after a photo finish. It was an impressive victory for Creator and a disappointment for fellow gray Destin. A third gray, Lani finished in third place.
This was a very different type of excitement to last year’s historic victory by American Pharoah but it was still a thrilling spectacle for those sipping their drinks in the sunshine. With the unpredictability of this race being what it was, who knows what next year’s Belmont Stakes will bring? The one thing you can bank on is some jaw dropping entertainment. If you missed it this year’s event, don’t make that mistake again and be sure to get your tickets well in advance for Belmont Stakes 2017.